Nowadays it is not difficult to guide people to anatta. In the past, Zen masters wait a lifetime to find someone worthy. Nowadays it can be a matter of spamming people via copy and paste some URL to the 7 stages, and then if they argue back you spam them with more copy and paste articles and excerpts and links. John Tan told me not to do that but it seems to have helped people. But I can understand why sometimes John Tan says he fears I will wreak havoc in other forums. Anyway, I've sent the 7 stages link to hundreds of people on reddit privately. Many people at the I AM and one mind stages were surprisingly open to contemplate and I believe many will realise anatta in time to come. Many are, of course, expectedly, resistant and argumentative. But you shouldn't give up on such people immediately. I just gave up on Jax and blocked him but that's because he's stuck there for 50 years and unwilling to contemplate. It's a waste of time for me to engage with him when I could spend that time sending the links to another hundred persons on reddit, for example. Or better yet, meditating. Anyway I've had some back and forth discussions with someone, Mr A, who was arguing with me that there exists a canvas, a field of consciousness which everything is happening in. I explained to him for a couple of days, but after that I realised it is not easy for him to accept it at the moment. Certain conditions have not ripened, so I let it be, and stopped answering him for a month. He was at the I AM phase to one mind but still not very clear about nondual and anatta. Now he is beginning to realise anatta, and he apologised to me. So know that helping others will bear fruit, but it takes time and ripening of conditions. Patience is needed for doing the good work of the Lord Buddha. ...... A month ago, Mr. JKB wrote super long posts arguing with me, for example: "It’s not necessarily a source in and of itself, it’s a boundlessness where the sensory phenomenon of the Imagination arise on its own, because the Imagination is the source of its own self, while that boundlessness has just always been. Dark and light are manifested by the Imagination “within” it, and you can call this empty boundlessness as “transparent”. “Boundlessness”, “Emptiness”, it’s whatever you want to call it. Debating whether it needs to exist or not for the Imagination’s senses to arise is irrelevant and futile because it transcends existence and non-existence. Debating whether or not it is “Awareness” is futile too. It is indescribable and has no name in essence because it transcends labels and names which are of the sensory phenomenon of the Imagination. But giving it a name of some sort is good as a “signpost” depending on where you desire to go and what you desire to achieve. I call it the “Field of Consciousness” because even though the phenomenon of the senses include the sensory phenomenon of thought and sentience and self-awareness, there is still that which is within that is “aware” of self-awareness, and “aware” of the self-awareness of itself. But obviously because “it” transcends all of this, labels don’t do it justice at all, because “it” isn’t an “it” at all, until there is a “mask” - the Imagination - that determines “non-existence” and “existence”, which “it” also transcends. “It” transcends all names, all concepts, all forms, all existence and non-existence, all ideas of ego, the entire imagination, and even the idea of “enlightenment”. “Field of Consciousness” even though it’s an “empty boundlessness” - transparency with no ends and no walls and no containment and no anything - which seems to be “aware” of the “awareness” created by the Imagination becoming “aware” of itself as well as the “awareness” of an “emptiness beyond nothingness” which in turn is “emptiness” being “aware” of “emptiness” even though there is nothing to be aware of since there isn’t a reference point of awareness. But because it is indescribable and non-sensical when attempted to be described, no signpost will “get it” because it transcends all of that. It’s inexplicable because it transcends explanation, and it transcends explanation therefore not being an “it”, nor not being, yet not being non-being. Even “this” transcends the idea of “Buddha-hood”, “Enlightenment”, “Union”, whatever. Because they are narratives derived from sensory phenomenon. When a collection of sensory phenomenon attempt to understand that which transcends it via using its own sensory phenomenon, it becomes confusing because even with the concepts of “nothing” and “something”, “duality” and “non-duality”, it confuses itself by attempting to understand that which transcends existence and non-existence simultaneously. Therefore, “Essentially you have a cup, and the cup has a mix of flavors, but you empty it, yet then when you empty it, you see that now there's another supposed "duality" of a full cup, and an empty cup. But then you see that the cup doesn't need to exist, it's just another reference for the "duality" and "non-duality", a way to measure the idea of existence and non-existence. So you can break the cup, put it up, or realize that it never existed at all” “And there's no "cup"/"no cup" duality, in the sense that the cup itself cannot transcend the field of experience in of which it is in for the flavors and the emptiness to be existence in” Because the cup is the “reference point” of duality and non-duality, where the cup transcends the “duality” of empty and full, thus being “non-dual”, and the breaking of the cup shows the transcendence of “non-duality” itself, aka being neither “dual” nor “non-dual”, because the cup just breaks into this “field of consciousness”, “empty boundlessness”, “emptiness”, whatever you want to call it since no name will do it justice anyways. Because it is beyond the sensory phenomenon and the reference point that defines “duality” and “non-duality”. Beyond the conceptions of “awareness” and “non-awareness” And so on and so forth. Mr. JKB Snoovatar If you want to achieve “buddha-hood”, throw away the entire idea of “buddha-hood”. Because it is just a hero’s journey story that you are following and self-creating as a collection of sensory phenomenon, which in turn does not allow you to “transcend”, because you will easily get wrapped up in it as well as the stories other people tell you about themselves. And then throw away the whole idea of “transcendence”, because it implies there’s an “above” and a “below”, which is also of the senses and the “illusions”. And then throw away the idea of there ever being an “illusion” in the first place, because that creates a narrative that’ll lead to a feeling of being “stuck”, leading to this self-told story that it is a “must” to become “enlightened”, which further creates a story that “others” must be “awakened” when they are all just sensory phenomenon as well, just like this body and the thoughts “we” perceive and the entirety of “reality”. Because whatever you’re attempting to achieve transcends the narratives we tell to and are told by ourselves and others in general. That there is even something to “transcend” in the first place, when “you” are that which is the “no-you” that isn’t “no-you” nor “you”. Mr. JKB Snoovatar Like, based on what you’ve explained to me, which I agreed with you in the first place, yet just having a different set of labels to define what isn’t definable in essence, you can already define yourself as “enlightened” if you wanted, given that you’re aware of this shit in the first place. Otherwise you’re going to throw yourself in for a loop for a good portion of your life because people left and right are going to shut you down when you finally feel you reached “Buddha hood”, because there’s this “not enlightened enough” mindset that people like to have for themselves and others. Which is absolutely counterintuitive given that no one - or not many at least - can really say what “buddha hood” actually feels like because they’ve never felt it themselves, OR they have, but because they didn’t recognize it, they keep themselves stuck in their story that they haven’t reached it yet. And here’s the punchline: there’s nothing to recognize anyways, because even that sensation of attaining “enlightenment” is just another phenomenon of the senses, which is said to be “transcended” in order to reach “buddha-hood” or whatever. Which is ironic given that chasing after this “enlightenment” is in and of itself a continuation of the suffering that people are told “MUST” be “transcended” to reach “Nirvana”." ...... Today, Mr. JKB: Hey, messaging back I’m sorry about my arrogance I’m starting to understand what you mean and honestly it’s been mind-blowing Thank you for what you spread, I’m going to read more of the blog Soh/xabir: Most glad to hear that :) xabir Snoovatar was there a shift or glimpse that triggered the sudden interest? Mr. JKB Snoovatar Today Yeah, it kind of just happened as I was studying some things and contemplating some previous viewpoints I had that still had some problems to them For example, I’m starting to understand what you meant by there not being a “thing” that experiences the present moment, or the presence That Presence is the experience itself, it isn’t necessarily an “observer” of things happening within it because whatever occurs in Presence is Presence itself? Mr A. I don’t know how to explain it accurately. All I know is that I reached some sort of conclusion while beginning to learn about physics and then I had a couple realizations, one being that the sense of self is a sense in the same way that smell and taste is, and as a result the Mind is not in need of a “Sense of Self” to define what its nature is because its nature is fundamental to reality in order for a “sense of self” to exist in the first place. So there’s not a “me” that experiences anything, even though there’s a “me” that is an experience. There’s only a sense of self, there’s not a permanent self. Like, there’s nothing that possesses a mind, there’s only Mind. Similarly, there’s nothing that owns a sense, there’s only senses. So it’s like, even though existence is working in some sort of wild fashion, there’s no “me” doing the work, there’s only happenings, even this that is being typed out is not by a concrete “me”, it’s just typing happening? Does that make any sense Soh/xabir: Yes good 👍 And even this Mind is not a background of experience but is the experience itself. As Zen teacher Steve Hagen said, Buddhism Plain and Simple page 115, by Zen Teacher Steve Hagen: With the two types of views there are two kinds of minds. As human beings, we all have what we could call ordinary minds - the mind that you've always assumed you've had. It's a calculating mind, a discriminating mind, a fragmented mind. It's the mind of ordinary consciousness, the mind of self and other. We generally think of it as "my mind." But there's another mind that is unborn, ungrown, and unconditioned. Unlike "your mind," it is unbound, for there is nothing beyond it. To this Mind, there is no "other mind." This Mind is nothing other than the Whole. It's simply thus, the fabric of the world itself - the ongoing arising and falling away that are matter, energy and events. Speaking of this Mind, the great Chinese Zen master Huang Po said, All buddhas and ordinary people are just One Mind... This Mind is beyond all measurements, names, oppositions: this very being is It; as soon as you stir your mind you turn away from It. This Mind is self-evident - it's always switched on, so to speak. We can - and, in fact, we do - see It in every moment. If we would refrain from stirring our minds (rest our frontal lobes, as my Zen teacher used to say) and let our conceptualising die down, like the ripples on a pond after the stirring wind has ceased, we would realise - we would know Mind directly. (Steve Hagen) . . . Ultimate Truth, on the other hand, is direct perception. And what is directly perceived (as opposed to conceive) is that no separate, individualised things exist as such. There's nothing to be experienced but this seamless, thoroughgoing relativity and flux. In other words, there are no particulars, but only thus. .... When the Buddha spoke of individuals, he often used a different term: "stream." Imagine a stream flowing-eonstantly moving and changing, always different from one moment to the next. Most of us see ourselves as corks floating in a stream, persisting things moving along in the stream of time. But this is yet another frozen view. According to this view, everything in the stream changes except the cork. While we generally admit to changes in our body, our mind, our thoughts, our feelings, our understandings, and our beliefs, we still believe, "I myself don't change. I'm still me. I'm an unchanging cork in an ever-changing stream." This is precisely what we believe the self to be-something that doesn't change. The fact is, however, that there are no corks in the stream. There is only stream. What we conceptualize as "cork" is also stream. We are like music. Music, after all, is a type of stream. Music exists only in constant flow and flux and change. Once the movement stops, the music is no more. It exists not as a particular thing, but as pure coming and going with no thing that comes or goes. Look at this carefully. If this is true-how a stream exists, how music exists, and how we exist-see how it is that when we insert the notion of "I" we've posited some little, solid entity that floats along, not as stream, but like a cork in a stream. We see ourselves as solid corks, not as the actual stream we are. If we are the stream, what is it that experiences the flux, the flow, the change? The Buddha saw that there is no particular thing that is having an experience. There is experience, but no experiencer. There is perception, but no perceiver. There is consciousness, but no self that can be located or identified. There is not even a hairbreadth’s difference between Mind/Presence and appearance. This is also why zen master dogen spoke against eternalistic views: From Bendowa, by Zen Master Dogen
Question Ten:

Some have said: Do not concern yourself about birth-and-death. There is a way to promptly rid yourself of birth-and-death. It is by grasping the reason for the eternal immutability of the 'mind-nature.' The gist of it is this: although once the body is born it proceeds inevitably to death, the mind-nature never perishes. Once you can realize that the mind-nature, which does not transmigrate in birth-and-death, exists in your own body, you make it your fundamental nature. Hence the body, being only a temporary form, dies here and is reborn there without end, yet the mind is immutable, unchanging throughout past, present, and future. To know this is to be free from birth-and-death. By realizing this truth, you put a final end to the transmigratory cycle in which you have been turning. When your body dies, you enter the ocean of the original nature. When you return to your origin in this ocean, you become endowed with the wondrous virtue of the Buddha-patriarchs. But even if you are able to grasp this in your present life, because your present physical existence embodies erroneous karma from prior lives, you are not the same as the sages.

"Those who fail to grasp this truth are destined to turn forever in the cycle of birth-and-death. What is necessary, then, is simply to know without delay the meaning of the mind-nature's immutability. What can you expect to gain from idling your entire life away in purposeless sitting?"

What do you think of this statement? Is it essentially in accord with the Way of the Buddhas and patriarchs?

Answer 10:

You have just expounded the view of the Senika heresy. It is certainly not the Buddha Dharma.

According to this heresy, there is in the body a spiritual intelligence. As occasions arise this intelligence readily discriminates likes and dislikes and pros and cons, feels pain and irritation, and experiences suffering and pleasure - it is all owing to this spiritual intelligence. But when the body perishes, this spiritual intelligence separates from the body and is reborn in another place. While it seems to perish here, it has life elsewhere, and thus is immutable and imperishable. Such is the standpoint of the Senika heresy.

But to learn this view and try to pass it off as the Buddha Dharma is more foolish than clutching a piece of broken roof tile supposing it to be a golden jewel. Nothing could compare with such a foolish, lamentable delusion. Hui-chung of the T'ang dynasty warned strongly against it. Is it not senseless to take this false view - that the mind abides and the form perishes - and equate it to the wondrous Dharma of the Buddhas; to think, while thus creating the fundamental cause of birth-and-death, that you are freed from birth-and-death? How deplorable! Just know it for a false, non-Buddhist view, and do not lend a ear to it.

I am compelled by the nature of the matter, and more by a sense of compassion, to try to deliver you from this false view. You must know that the Buddha Dharma preaches as a matter of course that body and mind are one and the same, that the essence and the form are not two. This is understood both in India and in China, so there can be no doubt about it. Need I add that the Buddhist doctrine of immutability teaches that all things are immutable, without any differentiation between body and mind. The Buddhist teaching of mutability states that all things are mutable, without any differentiation between essence and form. In view of this, how can anyone state that the body perishes and the mind abides? It would be contrary to the true Dharma.

Beyond this, you must also come to fully realize that birth-and-death is in and of itself nirvana. Buddhism never speaks of nirvana apart from birth-and-death. Indeed, when someone thinks that the mind, apart from the body, is immutable, not only does he mistake it for Buddha-wisdom, which is free from birth-and-death, but the very mind that makes such a discrimination is not immutable, is in fact even then turning in birth-and-death. A hopeless situation, is it not?

You should ponder this deeply: since the Buddha Dharma has always maintained the oneness of body and mind, why, if the body is born and perishes, would the mind alone, separated from the body, not be born and die as well? If at one time body and mind were one, and at another time not one, the preaching of the Buddha would be empty and untrue. Moreover, in thinking that birth-and-death is something we should turn from, you make the mistake of rejecting the Buddha Dharma itself. You must guard against such thinking.

Understand that what Buddhists call the Buddhist doctrine of the mind-nature, the great and universal aspect encompassing all phenomena, embraces the entire universe, without differentiating between essence and form, or concerning itself with birth or death. There is nothing - enlightenment and nirvana included - that is not the mind-nature. All dharmas, the "myriad forms dense and close" of the universe - are alike in being this one Mind. All are included without exception. All those dharmas, which serves as "gates" or entrances to the Way, are the same as one Mind. For a Buddhist to preach that there is no disparity between these dharma-gates indicates that he understands the mind-nature.

In this one Dharma [one Mind], how could there be any differentiate between body and mind, any separation of birth-and-death and nirvana? We are all originally children of the Buddha, we should not listen to madmen who spout non-Buddhist views." …. Mind is skin, flesh, bones and marrow. Mind is taking up a flower and smiling. There is having mind and having no mind... Blue, yellow, red, and white are mind. Long, short, square, and round are mind. The coming and going of birth and death are mind. Year, month, day, and hour are mind. The coming and going of birth and death are mind. Water, foam, splash, and flame are mind. Spring flowers and autumn moon are mind. All things that arise and fall away are mind. …. ‘Mind as mountains, rivers, and the earth is nothing other than mountains, rivers, and the earth. There are no additional waves or surf, no wind or smoke. Mind as the sun, the moon, and the stars is nothing other than the sun, the moon, and the stars.’ … ...According to Dogen, this “oceanic-body” does not contain the myriad forms, nor is it made up of myriad forms – it is the myriad forms themselves. The same instruction is provided at the beginning of Shobogenzo, Gabyo (pictured rice-cakes) where, he asserts that, “as all Buddhas are enlightenment” (sho, or honsho), so too, “all dharmas are enlightenment” which he says does not mean they are simply “one” nature or mind. ~ Ted Biringer All Buddhas and all things cannot be reduced to a static entity or principle symbolized as one mind, one nature, or the like. This guards against views that devaluate the unique, irreplaceable individuality of a single dharma. Hee-Jin Kim, Flowers of Emptiness, p.257 Mr A: So essentially, there’s not a “human mind” versus a “God Mind”, and there’s not a “creation” that is separate from a “creator”, as if outside. I’ve kind of been feeling the “oceanic-body” feeling too. It’s strange, it’s like the entirety of what we call matter is this continuous flow of occurrences but that continuous flow is also the “Mind”, and there’s not a “body” with a separate “mind” that can be called “I”/“Me”, that in reality everything in this room is a part of this body and vice versa, and all thoughts sensed as well are a phenomenon of “matter” too, and that all of them are simply Mind. I think a better way to put it is that rather than there being a human with a mind and unique thoughts within a room or environment which a “Greater” Mind is experiencing, there’s nothing but Mind which includes the environment which the body and thoughts are a part of, and the feeling of there being such thing as a “human mind” is nothing more than a collection of thoughts that are a part of the environment creating the illusion of a “thinking human”? I have no idea if that makes any sense either but point is that thoughts are just as much a part of the sensory phenomenon as anything else which seems to dissolve the idea of there being a “human mind” in the first place, it’s just Mind Mr A. Oh wow. No wait this is profound For the first time in awhile during my own journey, I don’t feel “lonely”, there’s a feeling of relief Soh/xabir: yes they key is however not only All is Mind, because that can still have the danger of reifying an unchanging and ultimate Mind but also to realise No Mind - Mind is empty of Mind one must penetrate the false view of inherent existence then 'Mind' is seen to be a mere label, a name, imputed on a collection of self luminous appearances. no ground, no substratum, not some ultimate something underlying anything Soh: Oic.. Yeah like even my initial insight into anatta i would say is more of seeing through intrinsic existence. Non conceptuality is more like side effect [11:16 pm, 29/10/2021] John Tan: Yes [11:19 pm, 29/10/2021] John Tan: ATR insight is seeing through self nature except the praxis as in way of practice is direct approach via vipassana -- special insight. The seeing through of self as a background is not through analysis. Soh: Oic.. thrangu rinpoche also said thats the diff between mahamudra and madhyamika [11:20 pm, 29/10/2021] John Tan: When that is seen through, one becomes effortlessly non-dual in experience as there is no subject to "dual". [11:22 pm, 29/10/2021] John Tan: Both essencelessness and non-dual dawn in a single leap but that doesn't mean one has thoroughly eradicated proliferation. Hence mmk helps to do that. [11:24 pm, 29/10/2021] John Tan: So it is not about doing away with conceptualities but a special insight that sees through self nature. Post anatta and when we keep refining our view and eradicate proliferations, we will realize the supreme purity that free both poles of dualities. That is not simply a collapse of subject-object duality, but a freedom from all dualities. This too can be realized through contemplating freedom from self nature. Experiences do turn non-conceptual but that is simply a by-product that comes along with the arising Prajna. Overtime when anatta matures, conceptualities become no more an issue. [11:32 pm, 29/10/2021] John Tan: Then total exertion becomes effortless. Whether conceptual or non-conceptual, the taste of no-self and open spaciousness remain for the practitioner. [11:36 pm, 29/10/2021] John Tan: Negation is always not simply negation. There r 3 main functions: 1. It points to groundlessness. 2. It takes us right back to appearances. 3. It points to presence in dynamism. the analogy i often use is 'weather' from the AtR guide: ~ Weather metaphor There is no weather actively creating, as an independent agent, the activities of clouds, rain, sun, wind, etc. Weather is a designation conceptually established upon a multiplicity of events/activities which are seamlessly interconnected, dynamic, and conditionally-arisen. It is important to realize these metaphors directly, as the empty nature of Awareness/Mind in one’s direct experience and not remain as an intellectual concept or ideation. 2010, John Tan: I did not tell you that pure aggregates is awareness, that is non-dual. When you understand anatta, you realize awareness is like weather, it is a label to denote this luminous yet empty arising, that is pure aggregates. 2013 conversation with John Tan: John Tan: When you say "weather", does weather exist? Soh Wei Yu: No. It's a convention imputed on a seamless activity. Existence and non existence don't apply. John Tan: What is the basis where this label rely on? Soh Wei Yu: Rain clouds wind etc John Tan: Don't talk prasanga. Directly see. Rain too is a label. But in direct experience, there is no issue but when probed, you realized how one is confused about the reification from language. And from there life/death/creation/cessation arise. And whole lots of attachment. But it does not mean there is no basis...get it? Soh Wei Yu: The basis is just the experience right? John Tan: Yes which is plain and simple. When we say the weather is windy. Feel the wind, the blowing… But when we look at language and mistaken verb for nouns there are big issues. So before we talk about this and that. Understand what consciousness is and awareness is. Get it? When we say weather, feel the sunshine, the wind, the rain. You do not search for weather. Get it? Similarly, when we say awareness, look into scenery, sound, tactile sensations, scents and thoughts”. (Note that this is still understanding emptiness from the perspective of firstfold emptiness, in secondfold emptiness there is nothing to ground conventions on - to be elaborated in the chapter on Stage 6). “24 Jun `06, 1:37PM Thusness Cog The weather as Pristine Awareness Look! The formation of the cloud, the rain, the color of the sky, the thunder, all these entirety that is taking place, what is it? It is Pristine Awareness. Not identify with anything, not bounded within the body, free from defintion and experience what is it. It is the entire field of our pristine awareness taking place with its emptiness nature. If we fall back to 'Self', we are enclosed within. First we must go beyond symbols and see behind the essence that takes place. Master this art until the factor of enlightenment arises and stablizes, the 'self' subsides and the ground reality without core is understood. 😊” – John Tan, 2006 so you must understand 'Mind' to be just like 'weather' above name only, as Nagarjuna stated: " The cognizer perceives the cognizable; Without the cognizable there is no cognition; Therefore why do you not admit That neither object nor subject exists [at all]? The mind is but a mere name; Apart from it's name it exists as nothing; So view consciousness as a mere name; Name too has no intrinsic nature. Either within or likewise without, Or somewhere in between the two, The conquerors have never found the mind; So the mind has the nature of an illusion. The distinctions of colors and shapes, Or that of object and subject, Of male, female and the neuter - The mind has no such fixed forms. In brief the Buddhas have never seen Nor will they ever see [such a mind]; So how can they see it as intrinsic nature That which is devoid of intrinsic nature? "Entity" is a conceptualization; Absence of conceptualization is emptiness; Where conceptualization occurs, How can there be emptiness? The mind in terms of perceived and perceiver, This the Tathagatas have never seen; Where there is the perceived and perceiver, There is no enlightenment. Devoid of characteristics and origination, Devoid of substantiative reality and transcending speech, Space, awakening mind and enlightenment Posses the characteristics of non-duality. - Nagarjuna" Karmapa Rangjung Yeshe excerpt: "All phenomena are illusory displays of mind. Mind is no mind--the mind's nature is empty of any entity that is mind Being empty, it is unceasing and unimpeded, manifesting as everything whatsoever. Examining well, may all doubts about the ground be discerned and cut. Naturally manifesting appearances, that never truly exist, are confused into objects. Spontaneous intelligence, under the power of ignorance, is confused into a self. By the power of this dualistic fixation, beings wander in the realms of samsaric existence. May ignorance, the root of confusion, he discovered and cut. It is not existent--even the Victorious Ones do not see it. It is not nonexistent--it is the basis of all samsara and nirvana. This is not a contradiction, but the middle path of unity. May the ultimate nature of phenomena, limitless mind beyond extremes, he realised. If one says, "This is it," there is nothing to show. If one says, "This is not it," there is nothing to deny. The true nature of phenomena, which transcends conceptual understanding, is unconditioned. May conviction he gained in the ultimate, perfect truth. Not realising it, one circles in the ocean of samsara. If it is realised, buddha is not anything other. It is completely devoid of any "This is it," or "This is not it." May this simple secret, this ultimate essence of phenomena, which is the basis of everything, be realised. Appearance is mind and emptiness is mind. Realisation is mind and confusion is mind. Arising is mind and cessation is mind. May all doubts about mind be resolved. Not adulterating meditation with conceptual striving or mentally created meditation, Unmoved by the winds of everyday busyness, Knowing how to rest in the uncontrived, natural spontaneous flow, May the practice of resting in mind's true nature be skilfully sustained. The waves of subtle and coarse thoughts calm down by themselves in their own place, And the unmoving waters of mind rest naturally. Free from dullness, torpor, and, murkiness, May the ocean of shamatha be unmoving and stable. Looking again and again at the mind which cannot be looked at, The meaning which cannot be seen is vividly seen, just as it is. Thus cutting doubts about how it is or is not, May the unconfused genuine self-nature he known by self-nature itself. Looking at objects, the mind devoid of objects is seen; Looking at mind, its empty nature devoid of mind is seen; Looking at both of these, dualistic clinging is self-liberated. May the nature of mind, the clear light nature of what is, be realised. Free from mental fabrication, it is the great seal, mahamudra. Free from extremes, it is the great middle way, madhyamika. The consummation of everything, it is also called the great perfection, dzogchen. " as it says, there is no mind, not even the buddha has seen it this is also the crucial teaching of the founder of Zen/Ch'an, Bodhidharma excerpt: " At this, the disciple all at once greatly awakened and realized for the first time that there is no thing apart from mind, and no mind apart from things. All of his actions became utterly free. Having broken through the net of all doubt, he was freed of all obstruction." xabir Snoovatar might be good to read this article, will help you clarify your views too excerpt: [8:50 PM, 7/26/2020] Soh Wei Yu: My impression is that yogacara is idealist because they totally negate external world even conventionally and posit that all phenomena are purely projections of consciousness like it is literally a dream [8:50 PM, 7/26/2020] John Tan: For me I have my own way of sorting out my view, experience and insights from Buddhist contexts. Where it starts and stops. I m not a follower of faith. [8:50 PM, 7/26/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Whereas certain forms of madhyamika, longchenpa and tsongkhapa dont necessarily buy thus [8:52 PM, 7/26/2020] John Tan: Prasangika do not care about mind at all [8:52 PM, 7/26/2020] John Tan: Same for me post anatta... [8:52 PM, 7/26/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah in fact post anatta i resonate more with AF than yogacara 🤣 [8:52 PM, 7/26/2020] John Tan: It is not that mind is not important in practice.. [8:52 PM, 7/26/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Except i see in terms of dependent origination and emptiness now [8:53 PM, 7/26/2020] John Tan: In zen though they say there is no mind, they in fact embrace mind more fully than all is mind, until no trace of mind can b detected. Yet Shen Yen said this is just the entry point of zen because originally there is no mind and this is clearly realized in anatta. So post anatta, mind and phenomena r completely indisguishable. If both mind and phenomena r completely indisguishable in experience, then distinctions r nothing more than conventional designation of empty luminous display. [8:54 PM, 7/26/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. btw did sheng yen realise anatta? [8:56 PM, 7/26/2020] John Tan: So u must know when we say no awareness, no self, no I, it doesnt mean nothing. It is seeing through the background construct and open the gate to directly taste, experience and effortless authenticate clarity. [8:56 PM, 7/26/2020] John Tan: I believe so but he did not talk about his experience except the stanza before his death that is beautiful. [8:57 PM, 7/26/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. didnt see his stanza before [8:57 PM, 7/26/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah luminous aggregates [8:58 PM, 7/26/2020] Soh Wei Yu: That are also empty [8:58 PM, 7/26/2020] John Tan: 无事忙中老,空里有哭笑,本来没有我,生死皆可抛” 台湾高僧圣严法师圆寂 (Busy with nothing till old. (无事忙中老) In emptiness, there is weeping and laughing. (空里有哭笑) Originally there never was any 'I'. (本来没有我) Thus life and death can be cast aside. (生死皆可抛)) - also two dzogchen teachers clear about anatta, prabodha and abhaya devi.. abhaya devi wrote: “Though purifying mind is the essence of practicing the Way, it is not done by clinging at the mind as a glorified and absolute entity. It is not that one simply goes inward by rejecting the external world. It is not that the mind is pure and the world is impure. When mind is clear, the world is a pure-field. When mind is deluded, the world is Samsara. Bodhidharma said, Seeing with insight, form is not simply form, because form depends on mind. And, mind is not simply mind, because mind depends on form. Mind and form create and negate each other. … Mind and the world are opposites, appearances arise where they meet. When your mind does not stir inside, the world does not arise outside. When the world and the mind are both transparent, this is the true insight.” (from the Wakeup Discourse) Just like the masters of Madhyamaka, Bodhidharma too pointed out that mind and form are interdependently arising. Mind and form create each other. Yet, when you cling to form, you negate mind. And, when you cling to mind, you negate form. Only when such dualistic notions are dissolved, and only when both mind and the world are transparent (not turning to obstructing concepts) the true insight arises. In this regard, Bodhidharma said, Using the mind to look for reality is delusion. Not using the mind to look for reality is awareness. (from the Wakeup Discourse) So, to effectively enter the Way, one has to go beyond the dualities (conceptual constructs) of mind and form. As far as one looks for reality as an object of mind, one is still trapped in the net of delusion (of seeing mind and form as independent realities), never breaking free from it. In that way, one holds reality as something other than oneself, and even worse, one holds oneself as a spectator to a separate reality! When the mind does not stir anymore and settles into its pristine clarity, the world does not stir outside. The reality is revealed beyond the divisions of Self and others, and mind and form. Thus, as you learn not to use the mind to look for reality and simply rests in the natural state of mind as it is, there is the dawn of pristine awareness – knowing reality as it is, non-dually and non-conceptually. When the mind does not dissolve in this way to its original clarity, whatever one sees is merely the stirring of conceptuality. Even if we try to construct a Buddha’s mind, it only stirs and does not see reality. Because, the Buddha’s mind is simply the uncompounded clarity of Bodhi (awakening), free from stirring and constructions. So, Bodhidharma said, That which ordinary knowledge understands is also said to be within the boundaries of the norms. When you do not produce the mind of a common man, or the mind of a sravaka or a bodhisattva, and when you do not even produce a Buddha-mind or any mind at all, then for the first time you can be said to have gone outside the boundaries of the norms. If no mind at all arises, and if you do not produce understanding nor give rise to delusion, then, for the first time, you can be said to have gone outside of everything. (From the Record #1, of the Collection of Bodhidharma’s Works3 retrieved from Dunhuang Caves) - Dzogchen teacher Abhaya Devi, Way of Bodhi - "So what is one mind, what is no mind and what is original mind in this context? One mind is post non-dual but subsuming leaving trace. No mind is just one mind except that there is evenness till the last trace is gone. Like what explains in the text. Uji... all is time therefore no time. When you go from dual to non dual or one mind to no mind, those are stages and experiences... If you got the condition to get pointed out that originally there never was a mind, there are no stages to climb... that is original mind. This requires insights and wisdom." - John Tan, 2020 another dzogchen teacher clear about the insight of anatta is Acarya Malcolm Smith, good to read this: sent this message to someone some days ago "Dzogchen subreddit is good because krodha (kyle dixon) is admin there. He went through all the way to anatta and emptiness and his insights are deep. Not many subreddits have this clarity because lack if people deeply awakened Sent this to someone like yesterday: there's another guy on reddit who is very clear, the admin of dzogchen reddit (i've been added as a mod past few days): Sent this message to someone yesterday: “if you are interested in Dzogchen, I can recommend Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith. both John Tan and I attended his teachings and found it resonating, very similar in view and insights another one is Prabodha Jnana Yogi and Abhaya Devi Yogini i just became moderator at the dzogchen subreddit days ago Krodha made me a moderator, also Krodha (Kyle Dixon) is also highly awakened having realised anatman and sunyata as well, and by good karma i was able to meet Acarya Malcolm Smith and Kyle together at California two years ago. it was really coincidentally and good karma cos malcolm (who is kyle's teacher) doesn't even live in california and i too just happened to pass by that state at that time in my travels, i live halfway across the globe in singapore malcolm smith told me over dinner that kyle was the first person who understand his teachings completely then malcolm invited me to his retreats next year john tan and i were able to join his teachings hosted online in 2020 due to covid, so if interested you can check out if there are any other teachings in time to come here's an article by Acarya Malcolm Smith explaining dzogchen view on the basis: im really glad i was able to join his teachings though, it just became clear how resonating it is after hearing him speak. didnt know dzogchen is so similar. also, kyle and malcolm pointed out that the I AM is also the initial rigpa of Dzogchen which is later matured with the realisation of anatman and emptiness at later stage called 3rd vision “ *of people"



 Mr. JKB:


The weather analogy made a lot of things click for me I feel.

So, essentially the “One Mind” is also the same as the term “weather”, which signals to a multitude of phenomenon that arise based on conditions that have been connected to fall under that term, “weather” - lightning, sunlight, clouds, etc.

So by realizing this is the same about “One Mind”, you reach “no Mind” which essentially shows that in the end, the term “One Mind” is nothing but a signal word for all variety of phenomenon within existence that arise from conditions

Which, includes “thought” itself, a phenomenon that is not separate from the rest of the environmental phenomenon

Mr A. Snoovatar

So I’m guessing the “weather” analogy can also apply to the term “eternal”?

Like, by grasping onto the “One Mind” idea, you are still at risk of the idea that this “One Mind” is eternal, but the truth is that the idea of something being “eternal” is merely a conceptualization and has no existence due to the fact that nothing can ever really experience “eternalness” in the first place, because there is nothing that can be “eternal” anyways?

And the reason for that is that there’s only “Now”/“Here”, so to say that the One Mind is forever is to essentially continue to be under the impression that there was a long chain of events called the “past” and will be a long chain of events called the “future”, when really there is nothing of the sort because they’re both conceptual and not Presence or “Thusness”?

Mr A. Snoovatar

The grasping of the idea of “eternal” and “One Mind” is merely another type of phenomenon occurring in the end that will fade away like everything else.

Even in the state of “emptiness” and “no Mind”, where the conceptualization of “One Mind” and “eternal” fall away, it cannot be considered “eternal” anyways because in that emptiness there is no “past” or “future” and no information or perception to consider even such thing as a “Now” or “Here”. It’s completely devoid of anything

I also found the point brought up that everything in regards to what we call “existence” is more or less intelligence confusing itself into a “Self”. That struck a chord. It made the entirety of this experience of existence feel more like a collection of sensory information being the very thing that created the sense of Self, and not just a Body called a “human”, like it’s the ENTIRE thing.

Mr A. Snoovatar

What exactly is “Samsara”? It seems that all of this, “we” arise from nothing, out of nowhere, so what is it all?

Mr A. Snoovatar

"because there is nothing that can be “eternal” anyways?"

Yes. Another term we may use is 'non-arisen'. This is different from Advaita, because their non-arising is the affirmation of an ultimate Existent (Brahman) that is forever unborn and undying, never undergoing change, timeless and absolute. The Vedantins will tell you, Brahman is not forever in time, Brahman is outside of time itself, time is an illusion. But in doing so they are still affirming and positing an ultimate transcendent metaphysical substratum existing outside of time, changeless.

That is not what Buddhism means by non-arising. In Buddhism, all 'self' and 'phenomena' are non-arising, they are unfindable like weather. Not only is 'self' unfindable and empty, even chairs, tables, anything, all objects are like 'weather', or another analogy used is 'chariot'. Everything is essenceless, without inherent existence. Empty and non-arisen. As Kyle Dixon said, "You're already stepping toward trying to see the absence of the self in experience, but it would be helpful to see the senses and objects as empty as well. " (this is a good read: )

If you have truly seen no self, there never was a self, would you say that you are born? Only conventionally, for the purpose of conforming to worldly designations, you may say you are born in such a year and so on. But that is merely name only. Like weather, it is empty and unfindable when sought. Non-arisen. You were never born, not in the sense that there is a You that is birthless and undying, but in the sense that 'You' never were. And if 'you' never were, how can 'you' persist, and then 'die' at a later time, except conventionally? So both eternalism and annihilation are refuted. Eternalism and nihilism are both extremes that depend on the predicate of an existent entity that could come into existence, persist and pass, but such existent entity itself does not withstand analysis.

And yet this is not to say there is nothing at all. It is not a denial of appearance and luminosity, they are just not affirmed in terms of 'existence' or 'non-existence'.

As Andre one of my AtR admins in the group just wrote, "If you're claiming awareness is real, it's you who must prove its existence.
Appearance is. That's what can factually be said. All else will involve some level of conceptuality and assumption."

And John Tan said,

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

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

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

xabir Snoovatar

“The empty [truth of emptiness] is the emptiness of the conventions. The taste is like empty convention, that is knowing it is empty but yet fully manifest and functional. No difference whether conceptually or non-conceptually in terms of taste.” - John Tan, 2019

“Now to tell you that conventional entities are empty and non-arisen, what is the purpose? It is pointing to the nature of what appears… to allow the mind to conceptually understand what is it like… to get the mind [to] familiarise so that when you directly taste what appears, insight to the nature of what appears can be directly recognized. If the objects and subject were to truly exists, experience will not be like that. The colors, sound, thoughts, smell, sensations, taste will not be like that. It cannot be a case where after purging of conceptual imputations, suddenly what’s experienced directly becomes real and true.” - John Tan, 2019

“Different types of dependency: several people have given examples, and here's another one.

A table..

1. A table depends on legs, a top, screws and braces (parts)
2. A table depends on being constructed, and trees, and sun and air, and builders (causes and conditions).
3. A table depends on being conceptualized and designated as a table.

This is the subtle one. Let's say you see a leg and a top. Do you see a backrest? No, so you won't call this a chair. The designation goes like this - you see some forms, and make them out as legs and a top. You give those forms the name, label, designation of "table."

This is subtle because the table is not exactly equal to the parts. The table cannot equal the parts, because then, if the parts change, the parts would be different, and so, following the equation, the table would have to change. Another reason the equality cannot hold is that there are many parts and only one table. The table cannot equal the *collection* of parts, because if the parts change, or if a leg gets broken off, or swapped out, then the collection changes. So the table would have to be a different table.

But we really don't want to say that the table would be different just because the parts are different. We want to somehow say that the table can remain relatively stable as the same table, even if the parts change, or get painted, etc.

And at the same time, we cannot find a truly existent, unchanging table behind or within the parts. If we did find such a truly existent table, then we wouldn't need to designate the parts as a table. But we do. It makes no sense that the table would really be a table if no one had ever in history designated anything as a table.

So we allow ourselves to end up saying, in a loose, conventional way, that the table depends on the parts, but is not the parts. It's a table in name only. This kind of naming is the designation-aspect of the dependency.

And this loose, conventional approach to tables and selves and life and all things is the experience of emptiness. It's a free, flexible, sweetly joyful, open-hearted way of life....” - Greg Goode, 2013

“And also functionality. A Chariot continues to function even with some of its parts missing. Dependencies based on parts, causes and conditions, relations, functions and imputations.” - John Tan, 2013

“Why do you believe there’s such a thing as a ‘sentient being’?
Māra, is this your theory?
This is just a pile of conditions,
you won’t find a sentient being here.
When the parts are assembled
we use the word ‘chariot’.
So too, when the aggregates are present
‘sentient being’ is the convention we use.
But it’s only suffering that comes to be,
lasts a while, then disappears.
Naught but suffering comes to be,
naught but suffering ceases.” - Vajira Sutta

xabir Snoovatar

"and no information or perception to consider even such thing as a “Now” or “Here”"

Yes good. If one's insight into the emptiness of self is then extended to everything, all phenomena, then there is also no need to affirm or posit a ground like 'Here and Now'. This is a subtler insight that arose for me months after my insight of anatta. Even this subtle grounding can be seen through and dissolved, otherwise it can prevent total effortless and uncontrivance of spontaneous presence.

In truth, everything is like 'weather', and 'Here and Now' are mere impressions like John Tan said in Stage 6,

" Emptiness will reveal that not only is there no ‘who’ in pristine awareness, there is no ‘where’ and ‘when’. Be it ‘I’, ‘Here’ or ’Now’, all are simply impressions that dependently originate in accordance with the principle of conditionality." -

xabir Snoovatar

"I also found the point brought up that everything in regards to what we call “existence” is more or less intelligence confusing itself into a “Self”. That struck a chord. It made the entirety of this experience of existence feel more like a collection of sensory information being the very thing that created the sense of Self, and not just a Body called a “human”, like it’s the ENTIRE thing."

Yes good. Not only the collection of sensory information, but the collection of sensory information + ignorance, which then appropriates the aggregates in terms of I, me and mine. Without ignorance, there is just simply the natural state of all appearances as one's display or empty clarity, no self and other.

Innate and Imputing Ignorance
Lopon Malcolm:

“In the basis (Tibetan: གཞི, Wylie: gzhi) there were neutral awarenesses (sh shes pa lung ma bstan) that did not recognize themselves. (Dzogchen texts actually do not distinguish whether this neutral awareness is one or multiple.) This non-recognition was the innate ignorance. Due to traces of action and affliction from a previous universe, the basis became stirred and the Five Pure Lights shone out. When a neutral awareness recognized the lights as its own display, that was Samantabhadra (immediate liberation without the performance of virtue). Other neutral awarenesses did not recognize the lights as their own display, and thus imputed “other” onto the lights. This imputation of “self” and “other” was the imputing ignorance. This ignorance started sentient beings and samsara (even without non-virtue having been committed). Yet everything is illusory, since the basis never displays as anything other than the five lights.”

Kyle Dixon:

“I’m obviously preferable to the Dzogchen system because I started there and although branching out, my primary interest has remained there. But I do appreciate the run-down of avidyā or ignorance in the Dzogchen system because it is tiered and accounts for this disparity I am addressing.

There are two or three levels of ignorance which are more like aspects of our delusion regarding the nature of phenomena. The point of interest in that is the separation of what is called “innate” (or “connate”) ignorance, from what is called “imputing ignorance.”

The imputing ignorance is the designating of various entities, dimension of experience and so on. And one’s identity results from that activity.

The connate ignorance is the failure to correctly apprehend the nature of phenomena. The very non-recognition of the way things really are.

This is important because you can have the connate ignorance remain in tact without the presence of the imputing ignorance.

This separation is not even apparent through the stilling of imputation like in śamatha. But it can be made readily apparent in instances where you awaken from sleep, perhaps in a strange location, on vacation etc., or even just awakening from a deep sleep. There can be a period of moments where you do not realize where you are right yet, and then suddenly it all comes back, where you are, what you have planned for the day, where you need to be, etc.,

In those initial moments you are still conscious and perceiving appearances, and there is still an innate experience of the room being external and objects being something over-there, separate from oneself. That is because this fundamental error in recognition of the nature of phenomena is a deep conditioning that creates the artificial bifurcation of inner and outer experiential dimensions, even without the activity of imputation.”
Labels: Ācārya Malcolm Smith, Dzogchen |

"What exactly is “Samsara”? It seems that all of this, “we” arise from nothing, out of nowhere, so what is it all?"

Samsara arises due to ignorance and bifurcation of self and phenomena as explained above. And this sets off the twelve links of [afflictive] dependent origination driving cyclic rebirths in samsara.

Samsara and nirvana are not different places. Samsara is not equivalent to nirvana. However, nirvana is samsara rightly seen.

As the Zen teacher David Loy puts it,

"That samsara is nirvana is a major tenet of Mahayana philosophy. "Nothing of samsara is different from nirvana, nothing of nirvana is different from samsara. That which is the limit of nirvana is also the limit of samsara; there is not the slightest difference between the two." [1] And yet there must be some difference between them, for otherwise no distinction would have been made and there would be no need for two words to describe the same state. So Nagarjuna also distinguishes them: "That which, taken as causal or dependent, is the process of being born and passing on, is, taken noncausally and beyond all dependence, declared to be nirvana." [2] There is only one reality -- this world, right here -- but this world may be experienced in two different ways. Samsara is the "relative" world as usually experienced, in which "I" dualistically perceive "it" as a collection of objects which interact causally in space and time. Nirvana is the world as it is in itself, nondualistic in that it incorporates both subject and object into a whole which, Madhyamika insists, cannot be characterized (Chandrakirti: "Nirvana or Reality is that which is absolved of all thought-construction"), but which Yogacara nevertheless sometimes calls "Mind" or "Buddhanature," and so forth.

xabir Snoovatar

Even in the state of “emptiness” and “no Mind”, where the conceptualization of “One Mind” and “eternal” fall away"

There must also be clarity that the truth of No Mind is a truth that is always already the case. In between One Mind and the realization of Anatta, there may be a phase where the sense of One Mind or One Awareness dissolves into the mere luminous display, and yet they remain as peak experiences.

What is key however is to realise anatta as what is always already the case:

Anatta is a Dharma Seal or Truth that is Always Already So, Anatta is Not a State

Wrote in 2018:

"If someone talks about an experience he/she had and then lost it, that's not (the true, deep) awakening... As many teachers put it, it's the great samadhi without entry and exit.

John Tan: There is no entry and exit. Especially for no-self. Why is there no entry and exit?
Me (Soh): Anatta (no-self) is always so, not a stage to attain. So it's about realisation and shift of perception.
John Tan: Yes 👍

As John also used to say to someone else, "Insight that 'anatta' is a seal and not a stage must arise to further progress into the 'effortless' mode. That is, anatta is the ground of all experiences and has always been so, no I. In seeing, always only seen, in hearing always only sound and in thinking, always only thoughts. No effort required and never was there an 'I'.""


Differentiate Wisdom from Art

Replying to someone in Rinzai Zen discussion group, John Tan wrote recently:

“I think we have to differentiate wisdom from an art or a state of mind.
In Master Sheng Yen’s death poem,
Busy with nothing till old. (无事忙中老)
In emptiness, there is weeping and laughing. (空里有哭笑)
Originally there never was any 'I'. (本来没有我)
Thus life and death can be cast aside. (生死皆可抛)
This "Originally there never was any 'I'" is wisdom and the dharma seal of anatta. It is neither an art like an artist in zone where self is dissolved into the flow of action nor is it a state to be achieved in the case of the taoist "坐忘" (sit and forget) -- a state of no-mind.
For example in cooking, there is no self that cooks, only the activity of cooking. The hands moves, the utensils act, the water boils, the potatoes peel and the universe sings together in the act of cooking. Whether one appears clumsy or smooth in act of cooking doesn't matter and when the dishes r out, they may still taste horrible; still there never was any "I" in any moment of the activity. There is no entry or exit point in the wisdom of anatta.”

Labels: Anatta, Zen Master Sheng-yen 1 comments | |


Soh wrote in 2007 based on what John Tan wrote:

First I do not see Anatta as merely a freeing from personality sort of experience as you mentioned; I see it as that a self/agent, a doer, a thinker, a watcher, etc, cannot be found apart from the moment to moment flow of manifestation or as its commonly expressed as ‘the observer is the observed’; there is no self apart from arising and passing. A very important point here is that Anatta/No-Self is a Dharma Seal, it is the nature of Reality all the time -- and not merely as a state free from personality, ego or the ‘small self’ or a stage to attain. This means that it does not depend on the level of achievement of a practitioner to experience anatta but Reality has always been Anatta and what is important here is the intuitive insight into it as the nature, characteristic, of phenomenon (dharma seal).

To put further emphasis on the importance of this point, I would like to borrow from the Bahiya Sutta ( that ‘in the seeing, there is just the seen, no seer’, ‘in the hearing, there is just the heard, no hearer’ as an illustration. When a person says that I have gone beyond the experiences from ‘I hear sound’ to a stage of ‘becoming sound’, he is mistaken. When it is taken to be a stage, it is illusory. For in actual case, there is and always is only sound when hearing; never was there a hearer to begin with. Nothing attained for it is always so. This is the seal of no-self. Therefore to a non dualist, the practice is in understanding the illusionary views of the sense of self and the split. Before the awakening of prajna wisdom, there will always be an unknowing attempt to maintain a purest state of 'presence'. This purest presence is the 'how' of a dualistic mind -- its dualistic attempt to provide a solution due to its lack of clarity of the spontaneous nature of the unconditioned. It is critical to note here that both the doubts/confusions/searches and the solutions that are created for these doubts/confusions/searches actually derive from the same cause -- our karmic propensities of ever seeing things dualistically.








Today Mr. JKB:

So the connate ignorance remaining intact while the imputing ignorance is absent is essentially similar to having a dream of being lucid in a dream, but it not actually being a lucid dream.

Mr A. Snoovatar

And Reality is Anatta, it’s not a state of mind, therefore there is not a Self that “becomes awakened” to Anatta, for that “Self” is also a spontaneous arising of phenomenon.

What’s “being awakened” are characteristics of wisdom that arise based on conditions, such as what’s going on now between you and I, so Prajna Wisdom arises out of these types of conversations but there is no “Self” that possesses or experiences the wisdom at all

Like with the quote from Bahiya Sutta, “in the seeing, there is just the seen, no seer”, essentially in an awakening, there is just the awakened, but not an experiencer that “becomes” awakened as if from one stage to another

Mr A. Snoovatar

Because to say that there are “stages”, still creates a dualist view of “awakened” versus “unawakened” in regards to the narratives of the sense of self, there is no “self” that is becoming awakened given that everything is phenomenon, Reality is Anatta, Anatta is not a state or stage but the nature of reality itself, we then see that equanimity and enlightenment is achieved not by any “Self”, because the “Self” is simply a part of the phenomenon, but it is achieved by Anatta/no-Self spontaneously without any effort…

Because the phenomenon of the wisdom that arises is not an achievement of any Self

So even our dialogue here is all spontaneous arising, and the wisdom that arises is what is awakened, it is not a “Self” or “I” that is “gaining” wisdom and then “becoming awakened” as a result?


Yes good, there is a famous verse by Buddhaghosa,

"Mere suffering is, not any sufferer is found
The deeds exist, but no performer of the deeds:
Nibbana is, but not the man that enters it,
The path is, but no wanderer is to be seen."

Everywhere, in all the realms of existence, the noble disciple

sees only mental and corporeal phenomena kept going through the

concatenation of causes and effects. No producer of the

volitional act or kamma does he see apart from the kamma, no

recipient of the kamma-result apart from the result. And he is

well aware that wise men are using merely conventional language,

when, with regard to a kammical act, they speak of a doer, or

with regard to a kamma-result, they speak of the recipient of the


No doer of the deeds is found,

No one who ever reaps their fruits;

Empty phenomena roll on:

This only is the correct view.

And while the deeds and their results

Roll on and on, conditioned all,

There is no first beginning found,

Just as it is with seed and tree. ...

No god, no Brahma, can be called

The maker of this wheel of life:

Empty phenomena roll on,

Dependent on conditions all.”


But conversely it is ok to say i realised, the buddha is awakened and so on, as long as they are understood as conventions. The buddha also said “i am awake”

Would an Arahant say "I" or "mine"?

Other devas had more sophisticated queries. One deva, for example, asked the Buddha if an Arahant could use words that refer to a self:

"Consummate with taints destroyed,
One who bears his final body,
Would he still say 'I speak'?
And would he say 'They speak to me'?"
This deva realized that Arahantship means the end of rebirth and suffering by uprooting mental defilements; he knew that Arahants have no belief in any self or soul. But he was puzzled to hear monks reputed to be Arahants continuing to use such self-referential expressions.
The Buddha replied that an Arahant might say "I" always aware of the merely pragmatic value of common terms:

"Skilful, knowing the world's parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions."
The deva, trying to grasp the Buddha's meaning, asked whether an Arahant would use such expressions because he is still prone to conceit. The Buddha made it clear that the Arahant has no delusions about his true nature. He has uprooted all notions of self and removed all traces of pride and conceit:
"No knots exist for one with conceit cast off;
For him all knots of conceit are consumed.
When the wise one has transcended the conceived
He might still say 'I speak,'
And he might say 'They speak to me.'
Skilful, knowing the world's parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions." (KS I, 21-22; SN 1:25)

“You recognize and stabilize.

Dzogchen does not negate conventions such as our nominal identity as an agent who can engage in activity.

Identity is negated ultimately, through the cessation of the conditioned mind, however we are still free to implement conventional distinctions.

Otherwise we end up like neo-Advaita. Saying “who recognizes? Who is there to stabilize? No one wakes up.” These are unnecessary statements if the teaching is understood correctly.” - Kyle Dixon, 2019

Answering someone’s question on “what is it that realizes emptiness?” Kyle Dixon wrote,

“This used to confuse me as well, but really when it comes to insights and realizations of this nature, you can insert your conventional designation of choice.

I, you, he, she, they, them, the mind, consciousness, etc., I’ve even seen an excerpt Malcolm shared which said prajñā is the “realizer.”

Conventions serve to indicate functions accurate to the characteristic, process or entity they are designating. The convention is a tool for communication and given that we are already functioning on the premise that everything is empty, the convention in question is ultimately treated as an inference. Therefore there is freedom to employ whatever convention is fitting to the context, as long as it is accurate in its application.

In this sense you can say the conventional identity realizes emptiness and this is not an assertion that actually reifies said identity.

In another context the inclusion of an agent, identity or entity related to the realization of emptiness is also extraneous. The process of delusion and the cessation of delusion is in one sense, a completely agentless process.

Hence the famous “Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements [...] Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements.”

There truly is just the presence or absence of afflictive factors, which obstruct cognition of the nature of phenomena when present, and do not obstruct when absent. The identity is a secondary imputation that arises as the result of the appearance of a seemingly personal reference point once affliction is present. But a conventionally useful identity which can perform conventional actions and have conventional realizations of emptiness just the same.”

xabir Snoovatar

"Mere suffering is, not any sufferer is found
The deeds exist, but no performer of the deeds:
Nibbana is, but not the man that enters it,
The path is, but no wanderer is to be seen."

Mr A. Snoovatar

So there is willpower, but there's no thing that is found to be the one who wills things.

Simultaneously, language can be used as a signpost to the "no thing", to the emptiness, and the one who realizes emptiness does not take their convention as the literal nature of reality being explained, just as a practical tool to get a message across

Mr A. Snoovatar

And even then, one who is awake can say, "I am a musician", without taking pride to it because the idea of "self" is dissolved, there's only musicianship as a characteristic of that one's constant stream of appearances

Because it's understood as convention, the "I Am" is not taken seriously

or the identity at least

Mr A. Snoovatar

You know, I was a fourth or half awake the first time you reached out to me, and now I feel after reaching back out to you, awake

There's just a lot of calm, bliss, release

A release of tension at least

Thank you so much


Its good you are starting to see these two aspects

[8:40 PM, 6/9/2021] John Tan: 1. Dzogchen has a phrase "spontaneous presence". I do not know it's exact meaning in dzogchen however the phrase is intimately related to the 2 experiences of the 2 stanzas:
1. No doership = spontaneous
2. Mere appearances as Presence
Imo, she is more on 1 not so much on 2 so far in her descriptions."

(Do read whole link)

There is only sound
Geovani Geo wrote:

We hear a sound. The immediate deeply inbuilt conditioning says, "hearing ". But there is a fallacy there. There is only sound. Ultimately, no hearer and no hearing. The same with all other senses. A centralized, or expanded, or zero-dimensional inherent perceiver or aware-er is an illusion.

Thusness/John Tan:

Very good.

Means both stanza is clear.
In hearing, no hearer.
In hearing, only sound. No hearing.
Labels: Anatta, Geovani Geo |

Yes there is willpower but no agent. There is even choosing but no chooser

As john tan puts it here:

Mr A. Snoovatar

[12:00 AM, 5/24/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Or nondoership"
“Immediate Present, Ultimate Dharma
Since our activity is not a progression from delusion to enlightenment made solely by the independent self, Dogen defines the first thought of practice as 'immediate present ultimate Dharma' or genjokoan: the presence and perfection of all dharmas as they are in the here-and-now.' Hee-Jin Kim further explains the meaning of genjokoan:
'It does not suggest an evolutionary ascent from hidden-ness to manifestation, or from imperfection to perfection, or conversely, an emanational descent from one to many, or from reality to appearance. Rather, things, events, beings are already unmistakably what they truly are; what is more, they are vibrant, transparent, and bright in their as-they-are-ness.'” - Zen teacher Shinshu Roberts

Mr A. Snoovatar

Even the activity from "delusion" to "enlightenment" is not an evolution of any "self", it's a spontaneous arising and dissolution of different phenomenon in the same way as emotions, seasons, weather changes, etc.

Or did I miss the mark here?

Mr A. Snoovatar

"[Participant 1]
June 14 at 2:40 PM

I came across a passage in a book I'm reading which brings up how Nagarjuna often bases arguments on unstated and unproven premises and manipulates ambiguities in language to justify his arguments leading to criticisms of sophistry. How do later authors address this if they do at all?

One example from chap 3 of the MMK with the following 3 arguments:

"Vision cannot in anyway see itself. Now if it cannot see itself, how can it see other things?

"The example of fire is not adequate to establish vision. These have been refuted with the analysis of movement, past, future, and present" - refers to the refutation from chap 2

"When no vision occurs there is nothing to be called visions. How then can it be said: vision sees?"

"When no vision occurs there is nothing to be called visions." Wow.

So when there is no thought, there's nothing to be called thinking. It just dissolves, it's gone, and then spontaneously, it can arise again, but there is no "observer" of those thoughts, there's nothing of the sort

Anatta is like deconstructing the meanings of every character and word within your own native language to the point that it looks just as "foreign" as the languages you do not know

Except, it isn't "foreign" at all. It's just the way things are, without any meaning applied to each "character", "word", "letter" - the phenomenon. Without any judgement applied, including that which one would call, "themselves"/"I"/"me"

To apply a meaning to this human body would be to create a "self". To apply a meaning to the awareness of the human body also creates a "self". Then we might see "One Mind", but still say, "That's the true self!", creating another "self". Then we see that there was nothing that created that "self", it was spontaneous, there was no "Mind" involved, it just occurred

Mr A. Snoovatar

What is rebirth?

Mr A. Snoovatar

“Even the activity from "delusion" to "enlightenment" is not an evolution of any "self", it's a spontaneous arising and dissolution of different phenomenon in the same way as emotions, seasons, weather changes, etc.”



Some people think rigpa or wisdom or awareness is something other than the five aggregates

If anatta is realised one sees there is nothing besides five aggregates

As malcolm said


"One, whoever told you rig pa is not part of the five aggregates? Rig pa is knowledge of your own state. In its impure form one's own state manifests as the five aggregates; in its pure form, it manifests as the five buddha families.

Nagārjuna resolves this issue through using the eight examples. There is no substantial transmission, but there is serial continuity, like lighting a fire from another fire, impressing a seal on a document and so on. See his verses on dependent origination:

All migrating beings are causes and results.
but here there are no sentient beings at all;
just empty phenomena entirely produced
from phenomena that are only empty,
phenomena without a self and what belongs to a self,
[like] utterances, lamps, mirrors, seals,
lenses, seeds, sourness and echoes.
Although the aggregates are serially connected,
the wise are understand that nothing transfers.
Also, the one who imputes annihilation
upon extremely subtle existents,
is not wise,
and will not see the meaning of ‘arising from conditions’."


There is no teaching in Buddhism higher than dependent origination. Whatever originates in dependence is empty. The view of Dzogchen, according to ChNN (Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche) in his rdzogs chen skor dri len is the same as Prasanga Madhyamaka, with one difference only - Madhyamaka view is a result of intellectual analysis, Dzogchen view is not. Philosophically, however, they are the same. The view of Madhyamaka does not go beyond the view of dependent origination, since the Madhyamaka view is dependent origination. He also cites Sakya Pandita "If there were something beyond freedom from extremes, that would be an extreme."

Further, there is no rigpa to speak of that exists separate from the earth, water, fire, air, space and consciousness that make up the universe and sentient beings. Rigpa is merely a different way of talking about these six things. In their pure state (their actual state) we talk about the radiance of the five wisdoms of rig pa. In their impure state we talk about how the five elements arise from consciousness. One coin, two sides. And it is completely empty from beginning to end, and top to bottom, free from all extremes and not established in anyway.

Dzogchen teachings also describe the process of how sentient being continue in an afflicted state (suffering), what is the cause of that afflicted state (suffering), that fact that afflicted state can cease (the cessation of suffering) and the correct path to end that suffering (the truth of the path). Dzogchen teachings describe the four noble truths in terms of dependent origination also.

Ergo, Dzogchen also does not go beyond Buddha's teaching of dependent origination which Nagarjuna describes in the following fashion:

I bow to him, the greatest of the teachers,
the Sambuddha, by whom dependent origination --
not ceasing, not arising
not annihilated, not permanent,
not going, not coming,
not diverse, not single,
was taught as peace
in order to pacify proliferation.

On five aggregates:

xabir Snoovatar

“"When no vision occurs there is nothing to be called visions." Wow.

So when there is no thought, there's nothing to be called thinking. It just dissolves, it's gone, and then spontaneously, it can arise again, but there is no "observer" of those thoughts, there's nothing of the sort”

Yes.. apart from thought there is no thinking, apart from colors there is no seeing, apart from movement there is no moving


In the seen only the seen is also no seer, no seeing and nothing seen / No Movement
John Tan: If seen is just seen, then there is no movement.
Soh: Movement?
John Tan: In the seen only the seen is also no seer, no seeing and nothing seen. There is no changing nor unchanging.
Soh: Ic..
Soh: The nancy also said the same.. nothing changing or unchanging

[10:15 pm, 05/10/2021] John Tan: That is ultimate view.
[10:16 pm, 05/10/2021] John Tan: Conventionally, there is changes and impermanence and origination in dependence as the right way of expression.

- excerpt from

xabir Snoovatar

And i do agree about the deconstruction of all language structures

Everything we take to be true and existent, like Mind, Self and even Body and objects are seen to be name only, empty, and deconstructed into seamless activity, presence is no longer confused with self nature but presence is experienced as total exertion and dynamism (total exertion: )

And as greg goode said

““Normally, we have a vocabulary (which includes a conceptual scheme) that we feel expresses the truth of things. Rorty calls this ‘our final vocabulary’. For those on a spiritual path, the path itself may become their final vocabulary. For others, their final vocabulary may be popular science. Whatever their final vocabulary, people believe it’s better than other vocabularies at representing reality accurately and correctly. Perhaps they believe it’s grounded or guaranteed by reality itself. A final vocabulary might not even be recognized as a vocabulary by those using it. It might just feel like ‘the truth’. This could be called the metaphysical approach to truth and language.

“In joyful irony, we continue to use language, and we continue to have a final vocabulary, but with a difference. We no longer have a model in which there’s language on one side and reality on the other, and our vocabulary points to reality. In fact, the very idea of a strict dualism between language and reality stops making sense. It’s not that one side creates or reduces to the other. Rather, the idea of drawing a line to separate them loses the sense it had before. The issue no longer has any metaphysical importance. No vocabulary seems as if it does the best job of drawing such a line.

“The joy and the irony must work together. If you’re joyful without being ironic, you’ll still have attachments to your own views of things. And if you’re ironic without being joyful, you may be bitter, cynical, sarcastic and pessimistic. Heartfelt wisdom includes both sides. Joy adds love to irony. Irony adds clarity to joy.”


Dharma Body

We might feel that our body is moving through the universe... then we might realize that body is not 'our' nor is it 'other', in fact there's no 'body' other than felt sensations, perceptions and actions (movement, etc)... and this sensation-perception-action is not in any way limited... for where does body end and the world begin? Where can we divide an inner into an outer? Not me, not mine of bodily aggregates leads to the dropping of a presupposed 'me/mine' grasping, reference and boundaries not in a dissociative way but rather leading to complete intimacy with the whole field of Dharma. Is body 'me' or 'mine' or ever just part of the world/universe/environment or better yet - just the Dharma* in a whole interconnected movement?

(Note: Dharma as simply a unit of experience dependently originating - not implying any inherently existing material universe [as the universe/dharma body here is seen as marvelous activities/phenomena dependently originating seamlessly without center or boundaries], nor is this dharma body in any sense a subjective body at all [if it is subjectively self-existent then causes and conditions will not be incorporated nor necessary for any given manifestation])

I was suddenly reminded of a term used by Thusness many years ago, "Dharma Body". Here I do not dissociate from my body as 'other'... in fact all bodily sensations and movement are felt in crystal clarity and intimacy... Yet, no more intimate than the trees and the sky and the buildings, which are all the Dharma Body in action... all functioning together as much as two legs are functioning together in an activity called walking.

Yes... when I move this body (actually take the "I" out - body is just this movement without I), it is this whole hands swinging-legs moving-heads turning-scenery appearing and shifting all in one interconnected activity, and this "environment"/scenery is also the movement of body as much as moving legs are considered the movement of body. It is all the Dharma Body in action and complete intimacy.

Update: elaborated on how the Dharma Body is neither an inherently existing object nor a subject to clarify due to noticed tendency to misunderstand what I mean.


Few months ago I wrote something related:

"After maturing the insight of anatta, the natural and immediate experience is total exertion. It is an intuitive experience. In hearing, there is only sound. But it is not just the non-dual experience of sound, it also has this flavor of the entire movement, a total activity, and that becomes natural. One starts to see whole universe involved in the activity. Then one begins to feel net of indra in real time."

Labels: Anatta, Dependent Origination, Maha |

On rebirth

On remembering past lives:


even if one is completely deluded and suffering, the truth remains that in the delusion, there is no one besides the delusion, and in suffering there is no sufferer or someone behind or besides the suffering.

yet in such case it cannot be said that the truth of anatta is seen, otherwise there is release

therefore the truth of anatta is a seal, the nature of reality as you said, it is not a stage. but in another sense there is a distinction between realising and not realising, a big qualitative difference to one's life

if the insight of anatta is clear and deep and stabilized, there is indeed the release, the peace and so on... which you also mentioned above.

“Though anatta is a seal [Soh: i.e. a truth that is always already so, pertaining to the nature of mind/experience], it also requires one to arise the insight to feel liberated. When a practitioner realizes the anatta nature of manifestation, at that moment without the sense of observer, there is no negative emotions. There is only vivid sensation of all the arising as presence. When you are angry, it is a split. When you realized its anatta nature, there is just vivid clarity of all the bodily sensations. Even when there is an arising thought of something bad, it dissolves with no involvement in the content [Soh: i.e. mental contents like stories, imagination and conceptualization along with emotional involvement]. To be angry, a 'someone' must come into the content. When there is no involvement of the extra agent, there is only recoiling and self liberations. One should differentiate arising thought from the active involvement of the content a practitioner that realizes anatta is only involved fully in the vivid presence of the action, phenomena but not getting lost in content.” - John Tan, 2009

“Not creating an idea of a self frees us completely from anger. You cannot have anger unless there is a self. There is no boundless and omniscient self somewhere in the sky that created the whole universe, and there is no tangible and limited self that inhabits this bag of skin. All of reality is simply infinite dharmas that arise and disappear in accord with the laws of karma. There is not one thing standing against another.” - Zen Master John Daido Loori

"...The anatta definitely severed many emotional afflictions, for the most part I don't have negative emotions anymore. And either the anatta or the strict shamatha training has resulted in stable shamatha where thoughts have little effect and are diminished by the force of clarity. I'm also able to control them, stopping them for any amount of desired time etc. But I understand that isn't what is important. Can I fully open to whatever arises I would say yes. I understand that every instance of experience is fully appearing to itself as the radiance of clarity, yet timelessly disjointed and unsubstantiated.." - Kyle Dixon, 2013

even so, the truth of anatta applies even in ignorance

“[3:29 PM, 6/25/2020] John Tan: Thought of how to explain the difference in anatta and advaita nihilism.

[3:40 PM, 6/25/2020] John Tan: When a person in ignorance, why is he so blinded? If there is no I, shouldn't him be already free?

Sentient being: if there is no I in ignorance, then you are therefore free.

Anatta: There is no I in ignorance, you are precisely THAT ignorance, therefore fully and entirely blinded.

What anatta insight is telling us is the "I" and "ignorance" are the same phenomenon. This also tells us that even when in ignorant, there is complete and effortless non-dual experience, anatta is a seal."

i just told john tan about this conversation, he thinks i wrote too much haha

John Tan:
No need to send to him too much
[9:07 pm, 08/11/2021] John Tan: Just those that r necessary
[9:08 pm, 08/11/2021] John Tan: Reaching too much is a disservice

xabir Snoovatar

John Tan:
Awakening of prajna is awakening to marvelous functioning also. The mind must not be inhibit with all such noises. Because it's essencelessness, there is spontaneous opening for every encounter.




Mr. JKB Today

“I was suddenly reminded of a term used by Thusness many years ago, "Dharma Body". Here I do not dissociate from my body as 'other'... in fact all bodily sensations and movement are felt in crystal clarity and intimacy... Yet, no more intimate than the trees and the sky and the buildings, which are all the Dharma Body in action... all functioning together as much as two legs are functioning together in an activity called walking.

Yes... when I move this body (actually take the "I" out - body is just this movement without I), it is this whole hands swinging-legs moving-heads turning-scenery appearing and shifting all in one interconnected activity, and this "environment"/scenery is also the movement of body as much as moving legs are considered the movement of body. It is all the Dharma Body in action and complete intimacy.”

This. I have been in agreement with this for awhile, like I’ve felt it but at first it was a bit discomforting because there was still involvement with the idea of “Self”, where “I” was still attempting to draw lines and answer questions of “What am I then, if not everything simultaneously?”

For example, when I would move, or walk, the world felt more like a “treadmill”; my feet only appeared to be moving, but in reality everything, all senses, were moving simultaneously to give the APPEARANCE of a human body moving through a world, but I only got glimpses

And the feeling has been increasing in frequency. Seeing it laid out for me in this message made it made more “sense”, I guess.

So Dharma Body, that’s interesting.

“Few months ago I wrote something related:

"After maturing the insight of anatta, the natural and immediate experience is total exertion. It is an intuitive experience. In hearing, there is only sound. But it is not just the non-dual experience of sound, it also has this flavor of the entire movement, a total activity, and that becomes natural. One starts to see whole universe involved in the activity. Then one begins to feel net of indra in real time."

Labels: Anatta, Dependent Origination, Maha |”

The “Net of Indra”, what is that exactly?

Because something that I’ve also felt, is that underlying all the colors, sights, sounds, etc., is almost like a “wave” of sorts. It’s subtle, and it’s what carries the appearances.

Not saying that they both are separate, but for the sake of language that’s the way I could explain it. Like, imagining all the colors and sensations being stripped away like gift wrap from a weird apparent “void” that shifts everything in existence simultaneously to give the appearance of individual things moving through and around each other

But it’s all “One” thing

Interconnected I mean

I think when I began feeling that, is about the time it started to lead me closer to what you were trying to explain to me long before

I’ll read the rest after I get out of work too, I have some more questions, one popped up like… is there really a difference between “One” and “None”? I could use “One Mind” ironically yet still feel and clearly understand that there is “ None” correct?

Another is, there is nothing that identifies with the Dharma Body but do we, after sitting into this realization, “become” the Dharma Body, so to speak?

No involvement of the content

But full involvement in the presence of action

So essentially, it’s being fully involved in the experience with the clarity that anything else following simply the phenomenon itself, any definitions or stories applied to the content, any narratives that are simply an extra layer, are just accessories to the phenomenon and not the truth, not anatta

John Tan is aware of our conversation??? Will we be able to speak with him some time as a group or him and I one on one at some point? I’d love to

I read the rebirth link and have had similar - but more intellectual - understandings of it

That this “me” is not the “me” in the so-called “past life”; that the past life may be a phenomenon of a “me” that arises from the senses but there is no fundamental connection between the two IDENTITIES - the only connection would be the residual thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives of the last “me”.

So, what essentially “rebirth” is is much like how dreams arise, but in a non-lucid dream, the dream “self” is convinced they are a “me” even though there was no concrete beginning by wakefulness’s conceptions to give a reference point of what made that dream “self” in the first place

The thing that probably brought up confusion was still the idea that there was an eternal Self that stood still while those phenomenon passed through it

Because now that I’m catching up with what you’ve been telling me, I can see more clearly that EVEN if there WAS an observing Consciousness, “forever” living, it would not be an “I”, and that observer consciousness would essentially be the exact same as all other arisings in the sense that it is not a substratum of Reality

But saying that would be irrelevant and simply conception

So also, how powerful is thought? Based on what I was reading it definitely seems like thought is a very very powerful sense


Yes as i posted on the atr blog a writing by a friend who was the first to realise anatta after speaking to john tan in 2004,

Is there an Eternal Witness?
Sim Pern Chong, 2006:

Is there an Eternal Witness?

During deep meditative states, an all-pervading Presence is detectable. This Presence, is most often experienced when thoughts are momentarily suspended. In this state, we sense the Eternal Witness.

But does the Eternal Witness truly exist? No.

In the past, I would have thought that it existed... as our true self. Not anymore.

So what causes the impression of the Witness?

From deep meditative observation, the witness is realised to be just an impression that is caused by subtle knowingness and sequential observation. Moment to moment arises in lightning fast speed. The second moment got a subtle imprint of the recently preceded one. This sequential change causes the sense of Subtle Witnessing known as the Eternal Witness.

There is no permanent unchanging Witness, but ever changing moment to moment witnessing. In another word, no permanent 'Eternal Witness' exist.

Labels: Anatta, Non Dual, Simpo/Longchen |

Excerpts from


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


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

Session Start: Sunday, October 19, 2008

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

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


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

So yes you can say one mind but also realise its empty nature

Zen master Dogen and zen teacher steve hagen are both very clear about anatta but sometimes uses the term one mind

That being said there is indeed a distinct of one mind and no mind, in the sense that one often goes from I AM to one mind to glimpses of no mind to realisation of anatta as a seal that is always so

Mr A:

Excuse my language but oh my fucking god.

Oh my GOD

Hahahah WOW!


Also related:

Mr A:

You have given me a completely different angle and it makes so much sense now

Distinct phase of*

“The Witness is the manifestations” I had always been stuck on the wrong view of Awareness, as if it was separate from anything

I had misinterpreted these ideas severely. I’m glad I finally had an open mind to try again and see with reason what you were trying to explain


Thank you all WOW!



And yes regarding fully involved

As John Tan/Thusness said before:

“When anatta matures, one is fully and completely integrated into whatever arises till there is no difference and no distinction.

When sound arises, fully and completely embraced with sound yet non-attached. Similarly, in life we must be fully engaged yet non-attached”

Btw where are you from?

And how old are you if i may ask?

You often do psychedelics?

Mr. JKB:

I was reading a bit of the link you just sent and it covered the topic of intention which I also wanted to go over in regards to “free will” or the concept of will itself.. I’m just trying to figure out how to phrase it

Also I’m from the US, 23 years old, I’ve only done psychedelics a handful of times the exception being cannabis which I also do not do often at all either.

I have a certain viewpoint of psychedelics though that they’re enhancements of perception yet also loosenings of mental programs, almost like a “subconscious mirror”

Each one has a different aesthetic to it


It briefly brushed the topic of intention

So there is no self, but there can still be intention that arises. If there is no self, then there is nothing that “owns” intentions.

But intentions can still be “chosen”, correct? Like the actions one makes can still be consciously decided upon?

Thinking leads to confusion, understandably, I’m just trying to make sense of intention and choice

I feel like you understand where I’m getting at with this hahaha

The concepts of “determinism versus free will” are still dualistic in nature, so they aren’t practical to obsess over, but does One/No Mind have choice over how the phenomenon move, shift, etc, like a lucid dream, once anatta is understood and once it is stabilized in anatta?

I feel like this question is kind of ironic to ask too though, because whether or not one understands anatta, there was always “choice” or movements in the first place.

And it still implies an “I”

I’m thinking too much aren’t I? Hahaha


i'm 31 from singapore, [snipped] when studying overseas in the past [snipped], we just hang people for marijuana smuggling again this year and you might have seen the news about singapore going to hang someone with an IQ of 69 for smuggling heroin. its pretty medieval but does get rid of drug use very effectively. i have seen heroin user (as in someone nodding on the street) in singapore for 2 or 3 times in total and seen marijuana use outdoors only maybe 2 times in total in my life here. whereas they are all across the streets when i was in USA

xabir Snoovatar

regarding no-self, intentions and free will:

xabir Snoovatar

from AtR guide

On the disease of non-doership, John Tan said:

“Nihilistic tendencies arise when the insight of anatta is skewed towards the no-doership aspect. The happening by itself must be correctly understood. It appears that things are accomplished by doing nothing but in actual case it is things get done due to ripening of action and conditions.

So the lack of self-nature does not imply nothing needs be done or nothing can be done. That is one extreme. At the other end of extreme is the self-nature of perfect control of what one wills, one gets. Both are seen to be false. Action + conditions leads to effect.”

“As to the specifics of your question I’m not sure, but here are a few major differences between classical “determinism” and Buddhist karmic causality:

Determinism proper necessarily involves inherently existent causes giving rise to inherently existent effects in a unilateral manner.

Karmic cause and effect in the context of the buddhadharma is only valid conventionally, and since every cause is an effect and every effect a cause, they are, in a coarse sense, bilateral in nature.

Karma can be “determined” in a certain sense, but since karma takes direction from intention, change can occur, certain results can be averted, suffering can be mitigated and ideally uprooted altogether.” - Kyle Dixon, 2019

“Kyle Dixon Dante Rosati we gave volition [cetana], and can direct that volition freely.

Of course we are subject to our karma, but it is not as rigidly deterministic as you suggest.

Kyle Dixon Yes, we “have,” possess, volition. And are capable of directing it where we choose.
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Kyle Dixon Life is not a fully automated process in the sense that you are like a helpless leaf being blown around by the wind, is the point.

You can make choices and direct volition.

Kyle Dixon Eric Aksunah I don’t know the specifics.

I just recall Malcolm once said we don’t have “free will” because such a principle implies a rational agent, and we are still subject to karma. Nevertheless, we can direct our volition and intention in specific directions, such as following the path.
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“ - Kyle Dixon, 2020

From a conversation in 2010:
(4:24:08 PM) Thusness: the man with the cellphone... rather than seeing it as universe doing it...see that the deeper dispositions causing the frustration. see the subtle holding of pces. see that there is rigidity in holding. you know about the fox zen koan?
(4:28:31 PM) AEN: yea
(4:28:55 PM) Thusness: you know the importance of it? it is considered hard to penetrate even among the enlightened.
(4:29:45 PM) AEN: it’s talking about the importance of causality
(4:30:08 PM) Thusness: buddhism causality is the theory of conditionality. you must clearly see the causes and conditions. now if you are not trying to 'maintain' a state of non-dual presence, will the walkman cell phone pose as a problem? isn't that worse than a by passer that is not distracted by the cellphone?
(4:38:26 PM) AEN: yea
(4:39:30 PM) Thusness: if you do not see the cause of 'division', can there be non-dual and anatta experience? without the experience of "I AMness", your experience of non-dual and anatta will be different.
(4:40:37 PM) AEN: oic
(4:40:38 PM) AEN: how different
(4:40:58 PM) Thusness: very different in terms of intensity and realization. most will skew towards first stanza. the directness and immediacy is also different. the experience will re-surface if you practice non-dual dropping, but not by way of one-pointedness concentration
(4:43:41 PM) Thusness: how is your PCEs sustained?
(4:46:03 PM) AEN: yeah its like those who practice vipassana or mctb focuses on the first stanza right
(4:46:14 PM) AEN: hmm.. via dropping like you said. theres no concentration needed cos everything is by nature nondual already, just the clinging to a sense of self obscuring the direct perception
(4:47:46 PM) AEN: bahiya sutta is a mix of both stanzas right
(4:48:05 PM) Thusness: by clear seeing, by penetrating the cause and conditions, by letting go non-dually...
(4:48:22 PM) Thusness: bahiya sutta yes...very deep, clear and precise.
(4:49:06 PM) AEN: through contemplating bahiya sutta experientially I realised what it mean which I later wrote in the article... I think its a v important sutta
(4:49:19 PM) Thusness: yes. therefore I do not want you to misunderstand and falls into fox zen. there must be clear understanding of the supporting conditions… not everything is the universe causing it… you have no choice...kok your head
(4:50:34 PM) AEN: haha
(4:50:50 PM) Thusness: in fact that is one of the disease of non-dual and desync of views
(4:51:00 PM) AEN: so there is choice? there is intentions right and choice
(4:51:11 PM) Thusness: yes
(4:51:14 PM) AEN: ic..
(4:51:16 PM) Thusness: there is no control. there is influences of the outcome. no perfect control… it is no different from having a self. except that there is no division. no someone standing out apart from the flow of phenomenality. the inter-dependencies are too complex and subtle to penetrate, and this moment of whatever arises are the result of such dependencies. chanting has its effect. do merit has its effect. insights are transformational. the path of practice has their effect. self enquiry help you to realize "I AM". no-self lead you to realize non-division and anatta. allow the direct experience of the transient. what you wrote and your summary provide you the penetrating insight of non-duality and insight into anatta. how is it that there is no way to impact? it just does not manifesting the way the dualistic and inherent mind perceive it to be. means reality is not what it seems to be. not the way dualistic and inherent mind sees it. DO (dependent origination) and emptiness is the way to correctly understand it
(5:00:32 PM) AEN: oic.. yeah everything impacts everything... even right view is important and the right practice... the notion that 'there’s nothing to do for enlightenment' or that enlightenment is some random event is really off the mark
(5:02:31 PM) Thusness: if you practice chanting a billion times, your consciousness in the 3 states will be affected. mere will in the conscious state will not be able to stop the momentum . that is self view...get it?
(5:05:18 PM) AEN: yeah
(5:05:28 PM) Thusness: even in deep dreamless sleep
(5:05:47 PM) AEN: yea… what do you mean by even in deep dreamless sleep
(5:06:14 PM) Thusness: even in deep dreamless sleep... Your mind/body rhythm, heart beats are affected by this practice. if penetrate anatta deeply...from moment to moment...thoroughly letting go of self and grasping and vivid presence, how is it that such practice will not affect the 3 states?
(5:14:39 PM) AEN: hmm… but in deep dreamless sleep if there is no conscious awareness how can there be an ongoing practice?
(5:16:26 PM) Thusness: the entire movement is not a matter of conscious awareness. the momentum continues...the body, the cells are imprinted too. much like your deep held attachments. all inter-penetrates. your body can contract unnecessarily. so you may have the experience but you have to refine your understanding. there are still some good pointers. when you practice dropping, it will help. when your insight deepens, it will help. so the mind can be clear. thoughts create fear... the mind engages in story has fear this is true. and being thoughtless, fear does not arise at that moment when we do away with thoughts and stop engaging in stories. but the cause is the 'attachment'. if the holding is there, there is no overcoming of the problem, get it? knowing that it is just a thought, engaging in stories helps as a form of practice... ultimately, that deep held tendency must be relinquished.
(5:30:25 PM) AEN: ic.. so you mean the main focus is not thoughtlessness but relinquishing the tendency of holding? and that’s by insight and dropping?
(5:31:16 PM) Thusness: yes. and because there is no holding, no attachment, there is thoughtlessness. as I said certain teachings are good to a certain point... after you arise the insight, you have to have other pointers. before that, it can be helpful to get you there...they are good 'supporting conditions'. but some of the expressions are beautiful. Sometimes just a few of these beautiful phrases help to articulate expressions… and that is what I look for because it is so hard to express.
(5:35:39 PM) AEN: ic.. "Learned Audience, when we use Prajna for introspection we are illumined within and without, and in a position to know our own mind. To know our mind is to obtain liberation. To obtain liberation is to attain Samadhi of Prajna, which is 'thoughtlessness'. What is 'thoughtlessness'? 'Thoughtlessness' is to see and to know all Dharmas (things) with a mind free from attachment. When in use it pervades everywhere, and yet it sticks nowhere. What we have to do is to purify our mind so that the six vijnanas (aspects of consciousness) , in passing through the six gates (sense organs) will neither be defiled by nor attached to the six sense-objects. When our mind works freely without any hindrance, and is at liberty to 'come' or to 'go', we attain Samadhi of Prajna, or liberation. Such a state is called the function of 'thoughtlessness'. But to refrain from thinking of anything, so that all thoughts are suppressed, is to be Dharma-ridden, and this is an erroneous view."
(5:36:27 PM) AEN: - hui neng
(5:37:53 PM) Thusness: yes

“And to clarify, I only harp on this issue like I do because I used to carry the same view: that everything is already perfect... there's nothing to realize... there's no one here to do anything... there's no such thing as "correct" or "incorrect"... or that concepts were the enemy, and so on, and so on, and so on. All the same narratives you see being spun by most neo-nondual teachers and systems. I remember I used to argue with a friend/mentor all the time about how he doesn't get it, and he's just fooling himself with practice and so on. And I used to cite the same quotations from Longchenpa and others that were speaking from the point of view of the ultimate, and I (in my delusion) provided them as proof that I was correct etc.

Then one day that changed, and I experientially tasted what all of these masters are pointing to. And I was shown directly that I had been wrong, and that was very humbling.

That made these teachings real for me. And surprisingly, instead of continuing to reject practice, and all of these other aspects of these systems that I had previously thought to be extraneous and a waste of time... I saw their value and their place for the first time. It became clear how and why they are applied, where they fit into the scheme of things... and I saw the sheer wisdom behind the structures that I had once mistakenly rejected.

So I only speak out against those who attempt to propagate the same mistakes because I've been there. I was so certain that I was right, and that I "got it", and that others didn't understand. And I was so wrong... unbelievably wrong.

I'm no teacher or messiah, I don't have a superiority complex or have some strange need to be "right", it's nothing like that. I simply speak out because when I see others who appear to be passionate about these teachings, making the same mistakes I made, I see myself, I can't help but to want to say "hey, it really isn't that way." And if all I accomplish is at least planting some shred of a seed of a possibility that X person may think twice and consider being open to the fact that they don't have it completely figured out, then that is good enough for me. If not, that is alright too, but at least I can say I tried......” – Kyle Dixon

“Kyle Dixon: Stian, Mr. J is implying that there is nothing to do, because all notions of 'anything to do', 'emptiness', 'right view', 'wrong view', 'ignorance', 'defilement' etc., are nothing more than concepts which arise and fall within the space of 'awareness' which cannot be improved upon or defiled... that is his view he is proposing. I beg to differ... to me this view is nothing more than a license for stagnation and complacency which only serves to pe

perpetuate the issue. It is a false sense of security that one has already 'arrived' so to speak.

The quote applies to Mr. J, because he claims precisely what Jigme Lingpa is describing in that statement to be true, and did so directly above that quotation: Jackson's view being, nothing need be done, because all concepts (including those of the dharma such as emptiness etc.), are nothing more than thoughts which arise in what is already complete, as expressions of what is already complete. His logic therefore being, there is no need to even entertain such notions, one is already innately realized. Jigme Lingpa is stating that such a notion is an incorrect view which actually severs one from the profound dharma. Mr. J’s assertion that 'nothing needs fixin' is a view he has touted for a very long time now, it is very unskillful and misleading.
Yesterday at 1:41pm · Like

Mr. J: My view Kyle, is not that "nothing need be done". Bringing an end to conceptualizing is a huge task. Buddha stated "conceptualizing is a cancer". It is the sole source of samsara. If the cause of samsara ceases we only have nirvana as experience. However when that task has come to completion, then we know the space in which Nagarjuna lived along with all the masters of the Zen tradtion.
Yesterday at 1:48pm · Like

Kyle Dixon: Stian, Yes, right and wrong should surely be understood as a necessary and indispensable duality when it comes to the dharma. Right view is that which will lead to realization, wrong view is that which will perpetuate delusion.

Right and wrong are conventional as well, any conceptual structure we are implementing here is conventional.

'Full' can only be a conventional designation, the ultimate nature of 'full' is it's emptiness.
Yesterday at 1:51pm · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: It's nothing more than a task that requires skillful recognition. At any rate though, it isn't simply a case of ending conceptualization... only conceptualization rejects conceptualization.
Yesterday at 1:53pm · Like · 1”

its good you are starting to be clear on anatta at a young age. if you are guided by a good teacher, such as acarya malcolm smith (and his student kyle dixon is also very clear), you will go far, as john tan said about someone else recently who also broke through to anatta at the age of 27 and had was under guidance from a zen teacher.

personally i broke through to anatta when i was 20 as well, was in I AM to one mind phase for about a year prior to that

xabir Snoovatar

John Tan then added on:

"[Someone wrote:] “There is nobody controlling anger, anger arise whether one wants to or not”

[John replied:] Maybe sees it this way:

There is no one controlling anger, anger arises due to dependent origination.

With ignorance comes attachment. When attachment meets its secondary conditions, anger arises. Without secondary conditions, anger does not arise. Although it does not arise, it will not cease to arise unless the primary cause is severed. Here the appearance of “spontaneous arising” is seen from the perspective of DO.

Seeing this way, there is anatta; there is dependent origination; there is mindfulness of the cause of anger, the conditions, the cure and the ending of it. There is no bypassing as in “nothing needs be done”, albeit no-self."

Also in 2008:

(7:23 PM) Thusness: We will not know perfect conditionality is unconditioned
(7:23 PM) Thusness: because the inherent and dualistic mind priced 'controller', 'self'
(7:24 PM) Thusness: The 'perfect conditionality' is never freedom to an inherent and dualistic mind.
(7:24 PM) Thusness: What is the method of practice in Christianity?
(7:25 PM) AEN: surrendering?
(7:25 PM) Thusness: yes
(7:25 PM) Thusness: surrendering is a total giving up, losing self control
(7:25 PM) Thusness: isn't that perfect loss of control and freedom?
(7:27 PM) AEN: no
(7:27 PM) AEN: cos everything continues to be done without a doer, its only the illusion of a doer that is dissolved?
(7:27 PM) AEN: its more like a happening
(7:27 PM) Thusness: yes but isn't that a lost of control?
(7:28 PM) AEN: dunnu leh, but intention can still arise even though there is no doer... so it's not that there is no control
(7:29 PM) Thusness: there is no control
(7:29 PM) AEN: oic
(7:29 PM) AEN: no control but intention arises
(7:29 PM) AEN: resulting in deeds
(7:29 PM) Thusness: there is intention
(7:30 PM) Thusness: we are confused because we 'tend' to analyse and not 'see' the actual happening.
(7:30 PM) Thusness: just like a hand, each fingers does not control
(7:30 PM) Thusness: when you close ur hand, it becomes a fist.
(7:30 PM) Thusness: each finger does not control
(7:31 PM) Thusness: like working in a group
(7:31 PM) Thusness: each individual does not control
(7:31 PM) Thusness: but each individual can contribute
(7:31 PM) Thusness: 'control' is really an illusion...though there is intention
(7:32 PM) AEN: oic.. wat you mean is that ur intention is only part of the conditioning?
(7:32 PM) Thusness: no lah
(7:33 PM) Thusness: contributes as a form of conditions you mean?
(7:33 PM) AEN: ya
(7:33 PM) AEN: wat you mean
(7:33 PM) Thusness: for an arising outcome
(7:33 PM) Thusness: means intention serves condition for an arising outcome
(7:33 PM) AEN: icic..

In 2009:

(12:59 PM) Thusness: there is intention, there is doing but there is no agent
so there is intention but there is no control
(12:59 PM) Thusness: intention only as cause and conditions
(12:59 PM) AEN: oic..
(12:59 PM) Thusness: so karma, intentions, tendencies and then manifestation
when you chant, why it works
when you summarize, why it works
(1:00 PM) Thusness: but it works not through an agent controlling an outcome
(1:00 PM) AEN: but it can be misunderstood as determinism? like every action and intention is conditioned
(1:00 PM) Thusness: yes
there is intention
(1:01 PM) Thusness: intention affects outcome
but not like an agent in control of something
(1:01 PM) AEN: icic..
(1:01 PM) Thusness: effects comes powerfully strong when there is complete oneness
that the imprints is strong and stable
(1:01 PM) AEN: wat effects
wat you mean
(1:02 PM) Thusness: means like practice makes perfect lah
(1:02 PM) Thusness: you practice and don't have to ask for result
let it sink into ur deepest most consciousness
it is always like that

Session Start: Monday, April 06, 2009

(1:40 PM) AEN: i forwarded you a second mail about free will
(1:47 PM) Thusness: There is influence, there is no control.
(1:47 PM) Thusness: And influence is by intention and imprints.
(1:52 PM) Thusness: Next there is also nothing to fear about 'no-control'. We must clearly know what is meant by no-control in actual experience. It sounds uncomfortable when our mind is inherent but in actual experience it is liberating because 'inherent view' blinds us from right experience and understanding.
(1:54 PM) Thusness: However this is not to say that everything is determined. The advaita practitioners is not aware of imprints and karma and mistaken spontaneity due to dependent origination with determinism.


Session Start: Friday, April 10, 2009

(2:34 PM) AEN: konomonte asked a qn on free will to dharma dan and he replied... i forwarded to

(10:22 PM) Thusness: read. Quite good. :)
(10:23 PM) AEN: icic..
(10:24 PM) Thusness: komomonte cannot understand the question of free will this way.
(10:26 PM) Thusness: he must first experience no-self and understand how subject/object view affect us then when he look at the question of free will, he will be able to understand better.
(10:29 PM) Thusness: because when our mind and experienced are shaped by inherent thoughts, we see 'free will' as a form of freedom. Once we are able to go beyond dualistic and inherent views, we see otherwise. But we must also not lead to the wrong understanding of determinism for both free will and determinism are extremes.
(10:29 PM) AEN: oic..
(10:31 PM) Thusness: what did you write to him?
(10:31 PM) AEN: you mean previously
(10:31 PM) Thusness: yeah
(10:33 PM) AEN: basically i said what you said, that things do not happen by chance or ramdomly or determined, but due to conditions. so there is no control, but there is influence by intentions and imprints.
(10:33 PM) Thusness: yes
(10:34 PM) Thusness: Dharma Dan's answer i also along that line.
(10:34 PM) Thusness: It is causal.


(8:45 AM) Thusness: yeah...overwhelmed by the taste of presence, we wanted so much to make it 'independent' to suit our 'free will' and 'absolute' model of our dualistic paradigm, that is the mind created such a notion of Absolute Reality.
(8:46 AM) Thusness: This will only hinder our progress from further experiencing presence.


Also I wrote this in my e-book:

6th April 2012
No-self does not imply determinism.
As I wrote to someone:
Yes but not to be mistaken that will has no part in all these. The teaching of anatta or no self does not deny will or the aggregates... The buddha teaches that a sentient being is simply a convention for five aggregates: matter/body, feelings, perception, volition, consciousness. Notice that volition is part of it. This will/volition can be directed towards a wholesome or unwholesome path. However, also remember that the five aggregates are empty of self - and are without agent. Does that mean there is no free will? In a sense yes, but neither does it imply determinism: another dualistic extreme. Free will means subjective controller determines action, determinism means objective world determines subjective experience. In reality there is no subject and object - in thinking just thought, in hearing just sound. But there are requisite conditions for every manifestation. Those conditions can be changed if there is a correct path.

A concrete example: if you ask a beginner to run 2.4km in 9 minutes with an unfit body, that is asking for the impossible. No matter how hard willed is he, he is never going to make it. Why? The current requisite conditions of his body is such that the result of running 9 minutes is impossible. Control, agency, doesn't apply when manifestation always arise due to conditions.

It however also means that if you exercise regularly for months or years, there is no reason the body (conditions) cannot be improved to the degree that running 9 mins is definitely possible. This is what I mean by working with conditions.

So those teachers who say meditation are useless are not understanding latent tendencies and conditions. They mistook no doership with some kind of fatalism. Every proper practice has its place in working with one's conditions.

Just because there is no self, no doer, doesn't mean my body is fated to be unfit and I can't reach the 9 min. Just because I exercise regularly doesn't mean I am reinforcing the notion of self or doership. In any case, action is always without self.

It also does not mean that "will" has no place at all. "Will" is often misunderstood to be linked to a self or agent that has full control over things, whereas it is simply more manifestation and conditions. Yes, sheer will going against conditions isn't going to work – this is not understanding no-self and dependent origination. But if will is directed properly with correct understanding of no-self and conditionality, at a proper path and practice, it can lead to benefits.

That is why the first teaching of Buddha is the four noble truths: the truth of suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of suffering, the way to end suffering. This path arises as a result of his direct insight into no-self and dependent origination.

Like a doctor, you don't tell your patients "you are fated to be ill and sick and in pain, because there is no individual controller, everything is the will of God". That is nonsense. Instead, you diagnose the illness, you seek the cause of illness, you give a treatment that eliminates the cause of illness. There is no self, there is no controller, but there is conditions and manifestation and a way to treat bad conditions. This is the way of the four noble truths.


also you should read these two articles to understand how intentionality is fully integrated in total exertion, and the active vs passive mode of no-self:


about 10 years ago i wrote to someone who just broke through to anatta, “Next step is not to stagnate in no-self and engage wholly and completely into actions and activities then "satori" has no entry or exit; when the thunder claps, the whole of "satori" is actualized!”

btw this is net of indra: 




Mr A.:
Wow that’s intense with the laws over there. I can’t really imagine being hung for that, but I also know that violence usually follows criminal business too even if the substance itself could be deemed “harmless”.
What are your thoughts on psychedelics?
i think hanging for cannabis is too harsh. its not completely harmless, but its less harmful than the alcohol and cigarettes sold openly everywhere
they can be useful for breakthroughs but usually only up to I AM and most people who tried psychedelics dont even get there
also overly frequent use can be not so good for one's prana or energy. john tan told me in the past not to do it more than once every three months. although nowadays i hardly touch it
btw which part of USA do you come from?
Mr. JKB:
I can see that yeah. Psychedelics are pretty powerful stuff too
I’m from California btw
What are your thoughts on Lucid Dreaming?
And “magic”?
Also I’m beginning to think I understand intention now. Lemme see how I can phrase it
which part of California? if you're anywhere near San Francisco might wanna meet up with Kyle Dixon for a chat. i met him in 2019
lucid dreaming is fascinating but i dont do practices specific to them, but they do spontaneously occur sometimes. beyond lucid dream there is dream of clarity, and also clear light sleep and clear light dream. theres three books you should read on this:
john tan has also many experiences with dreams and sleep like me but even more
"And “magic”?"
can you give an example?
xabir Snoovatar
Btw do you meditate?
xabir Snoovatar
Mr. JKB:
I’m not near San Francisco, more LA area
I’ll check those books out because I do enjoy the dream world, or like, it’s super interesting to me and I have some viewpoints about it that I’d like to be able to explore
And yes! Siddhis/Supernatural Powers
I do meditate, irregularly though, I am trying to get it more consistent in practice however
I’m just not always certain as to what type of meditation practice I should follow? But last night I did some before sleep to some music I made on my own and kept in my head “no witness, only manifestation, the witness is the manifestations”, and began to feel nothing but music or sound
And it’s almost like the mind tried to go in the direction of identifying with the music but I just kept in mind that there was no “I” either, so that it was only sound
After reading a bit of the link about siddhi’s, that’s another thing too that I’ve come to more intellectually, but it also ties in with intention lemme see how I can elaborate
I’m at work rn tho too so I’ll have better responses in an hour or so
You might want to check this zen center out
I dont know this teacher but i know bernie glassman is great and his successor is teaching there
Your meditation on sound is good
Keep the two stanzas of anatta in mind until it is doubtless and seen as always already so
Its important to have quality time everyday meditating
John Tan:
“When you are luminous and transparent, don't think of dependent origination or emptiness, that is [the contemplative practice for] post-equipoise. When hearing sound, like the sound of flowing water and chirping bird, it is as if you are there. It should be non-conceptual, no sense of body or me, transparent, as if the sensations stand out. You must always have some quality time into this state of anatta. Means you cannot keep losing yourself in verbal thoughts, you got to have quality hours dedicated to relaxation and experience fully without self, without reservation." - John Tan, 2018
"After this insight, one must also be clear of the way of anatta and the path of practice. Many wrongly conclude that because there is no-self, there is nothing to do and nothing to practice. This is precisely using "self view" to understand "anatta" despite having the insight.
It does not mean because there is no-self, there is nothing to practice; rather it is because there is no self, there is only ignorance and the chain of afflicted activities. Practice therefore is about overcoming ignorance and these chain of afflictive activities. There is no agent but there is attention. Therefore practice is about wisdom, vipassana, mindfulness and concentration. If there is no mastery over these practices, there is no liberation. So one should not bullshit and psycho ourselves into the wrong path of no-practice and waste the invaluable insight of anatta. That said, there is the passive mode of practice of choiceless awareness, but one should not misunderstand it as the "default way" and such practice can hardly be considered "mastery" of anything, much less liberation."
“Excerpt from 2012 transcript with Thusness:
Jui asks: (? Question about samadhi)
John: actually what is more important is that background is completely gone. Then when the background is completely gone, you do not have a behind, only the sound. Then your experience becomes most direct, cannot be more direct. Then when you hear the basketball sound, bum bum bum.. only. You understand what I mean? Initially even if you have seen through, there will always be a tendency – you and the basketball. I ever went through a period where I thought that I will not have that problem anymore. After about three months later, it comes back. Then I wondered why does it come back after I have seen through? Then after that, the tendency (comes back?). for yours (me/Soh) it is quite clear, because lucid dream until one can control the three states, it is quite deep already. After the initial insight one needs 4-5 years to have that kind of calibre, you see? So some people are different. So it is sufficiently deep into the mind body tendency. For me, three months after (?) it has a dual sensation, then after still a period (?) after.
Jui: I always hear people say when you see one object you are like the object… but in my experience…
John: In your experience now, your self at the behind will be gone. But you are unable to reach completely mind to object (one pointedness). But your behind disappears. But to zhuan zhu yi ge (be absorbed in one [object]) you are unable to reach, that requires Samadhi state. That is, that behind is gone, but you are one pointed into one object, then with view you will experience maha experience, total exertion. He (me/Soh) is also the same, the behind is gone, no more self, only the sound but there is no self, there is just this, there is just that. That is because the insight has arisen but concentration (?) my way is different. Before insight of anatta I had decades of practicing meditation, then I AM, then meditation, then I AM. My practice is like that. (?) but for you guys, you see clearly first, the behind is gone and your experience becomes very clear and vivid and yet you are unable to concentrate. So you must understand that concentration is different. Peacefulness and releasing is (different), clear vivid awareness is also different. It requires different insights and practice. You still have to meditate, it is impossible that (?) you should be in this stage, you are very clear, the click click sound is felt to be very vivid, then one day you will have total exertion feeling, but you must practice releasing and concentration. When the mind is discursive and wandering, you need practice. your mindfulness/thought needs to be practiced. You need to have a stillness/Samadhi. (to me/Soh) Your stillness is still not enough. Your mind is still having thought after thought, you are unable to have stillness. But your insight is able to reach no self. You are still unable to reach stillness and releasing. It is not a matter of saying then you can reach it, it requires practice.
(Comments by Soh: before my realization of anatta I would do samatha and enter into jhanic bliss [samadhi bliss but not resting in nature of mind], afterwards it is more towards the bliss of no-self luminosity, yet samadhi is still vital)
Me: best way is to practice vipasssana?
John: Vipassana … when it becomes non conceptual and non dual, it is even more difficult like for you, your insight is there, there is no self, yet when you sit you are unable to reach it. Because you need to focus. You need to focus your breath, (otherwise?) unable to reach it. For normal people they are able to reach it even easier. For you it is somewhat more difficult. So I always tell you, for example, for you and him the way of entering is by clear luminosity… feel as clear as possible. For example when you breathe, feel your breathe entirely. So you feel very very clear, just this breath you know. Then you feel the vividness. It is easier to enter this way.
Me: so you are advising Anapanasati?
John: yes of course, then you do many times. But when you do many times you are not counting. Don’t count. Just feel the entire sensation of the breath. You are just that sensation of your breath. Then you are so clear with your entire breath. That whole aircon that touches your nostrils, then going into your lungs. It is just this sensation. This is what we call breath. So you keep on doing. You are very aware of it. Actually it is not you are very aware of lah. This is what I call awareness and the whole thing is awareness, there is no somebody awaring. It is just breath. Then slowly you will have this (Samadhi?), you need to keep doing.”
“Total exertion is shamatha and vipassana into one. It is total focus and involvement of the entire body-mind, of everything. However that requires post-anatta insight.” - John Tan, 2019
Update: John Tan wrote, “[12/2/19, 12:07:49 AM] John Tan: This part is not exactly correct (about the statement made above on total exertion)
[12/2/19, 12:09:53 AM] John Tan: Can be said to be effortless yet whole-hearted involvement. But more importantly is like anatta, a perception shift.”
“The best way to still your mind is to observe your breath. To calm yourself you must learn to first follow your breath. Then be mindful genuinely of how the breath flow and how abdominal breathing helps. Don't listen to people, experience with your own mindfulness and test... Feel how chest breathing is hindering your breath. You must experiment yourself..” - John Tan, 2019
John tan sent me on sunday:
Breathe in and breathe out into its natural condition.
With each breath, purged the mind of pretense and artificialities.
In this temporary freedom from analysis and reasoning,
The rythemic flow of breath tu
rns itself into an alive vitality.
Recognize this untainted flow of alivness, it is the original energy.
Cultivate it calmly and be entire.
Do this every morning
"Anapanasati (Mindfulness of Breathing) is good. After your insight, master a form of technique that can bring you to the state of anatta without going through a thought process." - John Tan, 2013
“A state of freedom is always a natural state, that is a state of mind free from self/Self. You should familiarize yourself with the taste first. Like doing breathing meditation until there is no-self and left with the inhaling and exhaling... then understand what is meant by releasing.” - John Tan, 2013
“When we practice zazen our mind always follows our breathing. When we inhale, the air comes into the inner world. When we exhale, the air goes out to the outer world. The inner world is limitless, and the outer world is also limitless. We say “inner world” or “outer world,” but actually there is just one whole world. In this limitless world, our throat is like a swinging door. The air comes in and goes out like someone passing through a swinging door. If you think, “I breathe,” the “I” is extra. There is no you to say “I.” What we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. It just moves; that is all. When your mind is pure and calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing: no “I,” no world, no mind nor body; just a swinging door.” - Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki
“Even up till longchen's (Sim Pern Chong's) stage [having realised non-duality], meditation is still very important except it should not be form and technique bound. So still sit and meditate. 🙂 Spend quality hours in being naked... and let this continue till you experienced clearly what is the meaning of 'emptiness is form'. it can take 20-30 years. 😛 You must make it a habit, then you can progress fast. Even after experiencing non-dual, you must still work hard till it stabilizes. One should work harder after non-dual. 😛 So spend quality minutes in meditations. Don't just talk and ask for knowledge." - John Tan, 2007
xabir Snoovatar
Another zen center you may want to check out
Mr. JKB:
Any Santa Barbara County Zen centers?
I’m going to practice with those stanzas in mind
“There is no agent but there is attention”
This is something that stood out to me. I came to a conclusion of sorts that essentially led me to feel that Attention is Intention, in a sense.
If there is no agent, however, I cannot say that “I am” attention and be convinced by the identity created around it, in the same way I can’t say that I possess attention and must hone it.
Also today, I was sitting, and was closing my eyes and realizing something about consciousness a little more
It almost felt as if “consciousness” was like an orchestra. When sound arose, it was just sound and there was nothing to hear it but the sound created a sound consciousness, and then when I moved my hands, with closed eyes, tactile consciousness was present even though there wasn’t anything that felt the tactile sensation.
And then it made me think of dreams again; it’s like… there’s a period of no phenomena before the dream arises, therefore no consciousness, and then when a dream arises, “consciousness” is an orchestra of the sensations that build the dream.
It is much the same with what we call waking reality, but now there’s that aspect of thought-consciousness, which seems to be the bow string that gives rise to a specific sense of self.
When one is aware of that, an attention as to what kind of thoughts arise becomes more prominent, and it just goes to show how attention seemed to have been sucked into thought-consciousness so much that even dreams aren’t recognized as dreams.
It’s interesting to me, because in a sense it shows that dreams do act as a “mirror” to where attention is honed in on in the waking state.
But me saying this also once again brings about the implication that attention is a “background”, I’ll have to meditate more
Thank you again btw, I’m going to start taking meditation more sincerely now that I have an understanding of it
When i practice there is attention, focus, but not necessarily in a very narrow sense but open attention like this:
All the other writings by this zen teacher are great:
Attention is not a self, is not a background. It is just a mental factor in the foreground
xabir Snoovatar
I like your analogy about orchestra
And yes practice is about releasing all fixated forms of attention into open boundless spontaneous presence
And as john tan said before, as light as a feather but as immense as the universe
There is intention and attention and choosing, just no chooser or attender and so on
What is an illusion is just the deluded view that choosing and attention is initiated by an agent, then it appears there is “you” and “intention”.
Rather there is just the intention, no you besides. Like flash is not initiated by lightning when lightning is simply the flash in another name. The agent-action structure is delusional.
It is not however a denial of whatever appears or actions undertaken
There is no wind besides blowing, lightning besides flash, self besides the activity or experience which includes choosing and attention and all other factors exerting the moment
There there is total involvement including attention and intentionality because you are the action or rather there is no you besides the action. Sort of like being in the zone but as a natural state
But in a conventional sense it is correct to say you possess volition just like it is correct to say you possess an arm
But ultimately in the seen just the seen, no seer, no seeing and nothing seen.. you, possessing, arm are all deconstructed into primordial suchness
If one mistakens no self as a state having no intentions or actions however then it becomes dualistic and a state of dissociation. It implies you are not the action but are standing back from the action as some passive uninvolved watcher. That is dualistic
xabir Snoovatar
More quotes from john tan:
"People that have gone into the nihilistic understanding of 'non-doing' ended up in a mess. You see those having right understanding of 'non-doing' are free, yet you see discipline, focus and peace in them.
Like just sitting and walking... whatever they endeavor. Fully anatta."
In my opinion many of our great aspirations and high views turn empty talks easily. After the direct insight of anatta, it opens the gate that allows one to experience effortlessly all sensations that arise without duality, without fear, without doership and without ownership. Many are unable to see the "Whys" and "Hows" of "directness" so don't waste your insights that have given the opportunity in this life. Train yourself to do that with sincerity and dedication first. Then you will be fully in touch with your original purity; you will be genuinely in touch with peace and openness.
We need to have time to practice and be focused otherwise very soon we will realize we have wasted this life.
I did tell him to visualize light and practice breathing with full no-self anatta insight intact.
The purpose of visualization and to have a prolong period of practice focus on breathing with anatta insight intact is to allow him to have glimpses of the relationship between visualization, concentration and the 3 states.
xabir Snoovatar
"If we want to experience fully and have genuine peace, be very sincere in sensing all your sensations for pretense, blames, rejections and contractions... ...don't rush... slow down your thoughts and scan all your sensations for these... see all these traces... see all these come from the "I"s and "mine"s... develop a strong willingness to let go with your insights of anatta. If you can for a brief moment be free from the conceit of I, the craving of mine and the background of I AM, that moment you are respectable even to the gods.
I do not want you to get into too high views and lose touch with genuine and simple practice."
xabir Snoovatar
<-- copy and paste this whole link to browser
btw not all zen teachers realised anatta lol
my estimate is that (and this applies even for zen, dzogchen, and so on) maybe 85% of those who have any awakening are stuck at the I AM stage, maybe 10% or less are at one mind, and maybe 2% or less have realised anatta
and this goes even for buddhist teachers
so dont be surprised or disappointed if teachers or practitioners you encounter dont seem to understand the anatta insight. but its still good to visit these teachers and learn what you can and practice together
xabir Snoovatar from santa barbara zen center. sounds like no mind and maha / total exertion

Nafis Rahman
Soh Wei Yu
Maybe you already sent Mr. JKB, but these meditation instructions from JT are very simple and direct:
An advise I often give which in my experience is a highly effective method for realizing no-self: "spend quality hours (or however much time you can afford) everyday practicing being naked in awareness (whether in sitting meditation or in movement), which is to say hear the sounds as clear as can be in its pristine clarity and vividness… observe/experience the minutest details of sensations in its crystal clarity and aliveness, the sights, smells, taste, touch. Then contemplate and notice the fact that “there is no experiencer behind experience, just the experience” or “in seeing just the shapes, colours, forms, no seer”... this can eventually lead to non dual experience and insight.”
Guy Armstrong, Emptiness: A Practical Guide (confirmed he has anatta insight, he has a long passage regarding seeing, no seer as well and quoted Bahiya sutta along with Genjokoan and Nagarjuna. He also went through I AM, can send excerpts later. This passage was helpful for understanding thinking, no thinker):
Surely we would expect to find an “I” in an act of volition. Who decides to act? Who makes a choice? But if we look closely at a simple action, we see that a multitude of factors converge to bring it about. Let’s say we are sitting in a room feeling a bit chilly and we decide to draw a shawl over our lap. In a normal account, that is all there is to say: “I felt cold, so I put on a shawl.” But if we look more closely, with the eyes of meditative mindfulness, we see that there are more steps in the process.
First there is the recognition that one is sitting (mindfulness of body). Then at some point there is a sensation (contact) that we recognize as cold (perception). Cold is felt as unpleasant (feeling tone), and there is a reaction of aversion (volitional formation). Not seeing the reaction mindfully (delusion), we don’t pause to investigate the feeling tone or formation, but rather distract ourselves (beginning of proliferation) with the mildly complaining inner voice, “I’m starting to feel cold,” and perhaps we feel a little shiver (sensation). Perhaps some perception of “warm” then arises, either by feeling a part of the body that is well covered or by remembering how the room felt when we sat down. Based on the perception of warmth, a desire (formation) arises to experience being warm (sensation with pleasant feeling tone). Just as the earlier aversion was not seen mindfully as something to investigate, so also the desire for warmth is not seen mindfully or investigated. Based on desire for warmth and a touch of delusion (lack of mindful attention), a memory arises of the shawl lying on the sofa. Based on desire and memory, a volition arises and we turn our head to see the shawl on the end of the sofa (perception). Next the urge arises (volition) to reach for the shawl and cover our lap with it (action) — which we do.
In this entire chain of linked causes and effects, there is never a separate agent or self. Rather there is a back-and-forth dialogue between the body, perceptions, feeling tone, aversion, desire, volition, and action. Volition is just another factor of mind that arises based on prior causes and conditions. It then leads to action, in this case, of the body. It can be very tempting to identify with volition: “I decided to reach” or “I reached.” But when we see the momentary nature of all the factors arising and passing, we see there is no continuity to volition either. It too arises, does its work, and passes away.
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Nafis Rahman
This comment is good as well from understanding anatta from the perspective of DO along with the entire article:
Soh Wei Yu Not only anatta, but one must realize Dependent Origination. Means from the direct taste of Heart/Mind in whatever manifestation, one also intuits the chain of dependencies involved in the total exertion of a given manifestation. The green is the pure visual-consciousness is not 'there' or 'here' or 'anywhere', is not produced by self, not produced by other, but appears due to conditions. Also it is not that everything is 'one awareness' - pure-visual-consciousness/green-display is perculiar-consciousness-instance according to a given condition, the experience of music, the sensation of hand pressing against an object, are all perculiar displays/consciousness-instances. And just like 'weather' is merely a name when certain patterns are appearing which we then call 'rain, cloud, wind, sunshine' (these too are mere labels), 'consciousness' is not one single unchanging static entity nor even one entity 'transforming into many' (as if weather is some pre-existing or self-existing 'entity' that morphs into various forms, rather than simply a label denoting the entire flow of aggregates and formations) but simply a label denoting the whole bundle or aggregate or composite or collection or heap of self-luminous aggregates/display/manifestation. Mere-name does not mean nothing at all exist but that the various appearances which is the vivid displays of luminosity do not amount to a substantially existing [existing by its own side, having its own essence, independent of conditions, or changeless] entity either in terms of subject or object, which is why the emptying of both leads to the actualization of suchness in the way described in Kalaka Sutta.
Suffering, afflictions, likewise manifest by dependencies. Some practitioners like AF think that when self is there, afflictions arise, as if the 'feeler' causes the 'feeling' but anatta and D.O. reveals that afflictions/sense-of-self/suffering manifest via dependencies and is nowhere located or stored anywhere nor is it produced by a feeler (there never was a feeler/agent/self/Self), the chain of dependencies is what is always involved in a given experience which is always empty of self/Self/agency. Likewise, 'Awareness'/'colors'/'taste'/'sounds'/'thoughts', etc never resided anywhere just like the reflection of moon on water never resided 'inside' the water but merely manifests in an illusory way due to dependencies -- when condition is, manifestation is, consciousness is - condition, manifestation and consciousness are one and inseparable, never separated and neither are they 'interacting' with each other in the case of a mirror reflecting (stage 4). It is revealed that all phenomena are neither produced by an agent, nor by another, are not existing by its own side, and in fact is unproduced, unoriginated, non-arising, due to merely appearing via conditionality.
All the terms that sounded ultimate, metaphysical and ontological now applies to Mind/Appearance but in a non-inherent, non-metaphysical, non-ontological manner. The sense of quiescence, unmoving, non-arising that once applied to an inherent Awareness now applies to Mind/Manifestation in a non-inherent manner. For as Nagarjuna said and I reiterate, if the conditioned/arising of phenomena cannot be established, how can the unconditioned be established [in contrast to so called conditionally arising/abiding/subsiding phenomena]? So as Thusness wrote many years ago, 'The next understanding u must have after anatta and emptiness is to know that all qualities similar to those that are described and sounded ontological are always manifesting presently, spontaneously and effortlessly after the purification of anatta and emptiness insights.'
All displays are 'illusory' not because it is 'mentally projected' nor due to being subsumed to be 'mere modulations of consciousness' (like one mind) but because whatever appears is nothing there or here or anywhere but appearing via dependencies in total exertion. The taste of illusoriness and indestructible non-arising of a given self-luminous Mind/Heart display which is the total exertion of D.O. must be complemented, -A and +A:
And as Thusness wrote in 2014,
John TanSaturday, November 15, 2014 at 8:42am UTC+08
Actually if u do not see DO [dependent origination], u do not see Buddhism. Anatta is just the beginning.
John TanSaturday, November 15, 2014 at 8:46am UTC+08
Be it Buddha himself, Nagarjuna or Tsongkhapa none never got overwhelmed and amazed with the profundity of dependent origination. It is just that we do not hv the wisdom to penetrate enough depth of it.
John TanSaturday, November 15, 2014 at 8:54am UTC+08
If u see dependent origination and emptiness then Advaita is world apart from Buddhism, if u actualized ur view into non-dual experience, then it is different from top to bottom. Simply looking at Awareness and no-self, besides non-dual empty clarity and substantial non-duality clarity, u will not b able to distinguish much.
John TanSaturday, November 15, 2014 at 8:56am UTC+08
So answer Mike Scarf from DO and emptiness perspective.
John TanSaturday, November 15, 2014 at 9:07am UTC+08
Just bring out the importance of DO. But what written is NOT the essence. The essence is the freedom from extremes of DO, the "nature" of mind and phenomena is realized to b dependent arising and empty. Dependent arising is exactly non-arising be it whether one sees dependencies from production, designation, relations or imputing consciousness. Conceptual or non-conceptual experiences, permanent or impermanent phenomena, conditioned or unconditioned phenomena, all dependently originates, empty and non-arising. If one sees this, how could it b Advaita....
Fully Experience All-Is-Mind by Realizing No-Mind, Conditionality, Unreality and Non-Arising
Fully Experience All-Is-Mind by Realizing No-Mind, Conditionality, Unreality and Non-Arising
Fully Experience All-Is-Mind by Realizing No-Mind, Conditionality, Unreality and Non-Arising
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Mr. JKB:

“John TanSaturday, October 18, 2014 at 10:35pm UTC+08

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

John TanSaturday, October 18, 2014 at 10:36pm UTC+08

Therefore without understanding 缘 (conditions),is to limit 心 (Mind). without understanding 缘 (conditions),is to place limitation in its manifestations.

John TanSunday, October 19, 2014 at 12:37am UTC+08

U must fully experience 心 (Mind) by realizing 无心 (No-Mind) and fully embrace the wisdom of 不可得 (ungraspable/unobtainable).”

Fully realizing Mind consists of realizing what is called No-Mind because by realizing what is No-Mind you release even the limitation of the label called “Mind”?


Yes like what i wrote in dharma body.. mind, body, universe deconstructed into seamless exertion


John tan wrote in 2012, "I do not see practice apart from realizing the essence and nature of awareness. The only difference is seeing Awareness as an ultimate essence or realizing awareness as this seamless activity that fills the entire Universe. When we say there is no scent of a flower, the scent is the flower.... that is because the mind, body, universe are all together deconstructed into this single flow, this scent and only this... Nothing else. That is the Mind that is no mind. There is not an Ultimate Mind that transcends anything in the Buddhist enlightenment. The mind Is this very manifestation of total exertion... wholly thus. Therefore there is always no mind, always only this vibration of moving train, this cooling air of the air-con, this breath... The question is after the 7 phases of insights can this be realized and experienced and becomes the ongoing activity of practice in enlightenment and enlightenment in practice -- practice-enlightenment."

Read this to understand how penetrating dependent origination and total exertion leads to limitless/boundlessness

There are different phases and depths to it like

And the +a and -a

But didnt want to confuse you too much. Better to practice and deepen and stabilize insight into anatta first

Not only no mind but “without understanding conditions is to limit mind”

but the anatta insight is still most crucial and leads to the direct taste of presence as foreground by penetrating deluded view of self-nature

then it is like this

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

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

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

at later phase the intensity of luminosity can be super intense. more powerful than  psychedelic experience. then you may need to do energy practice to regulate and not over exert and concentrate otherwise you will have some energy imbalance issues and even sleeplessness

i wrote about it in

Mr. JKB:

[12:51 PM, 6/24/2020] John Tan: Yes. If I were to hit a bell with a stick and produce a "tingssss" sound...where and what is that "tingss"?

Is it in the stick, the bell, the air, the vibration of the air, the ear canal, the eardrum?

Also is that "tingss" produced?  Is it caused?
[12:53 PM, 6/24/2020] John Tan: And if you take out a part of the conditions, is there still "tingss" at that moment?

[12:54 PM, 6/24/2020] Soh Wei Yu: No

[12:55 PM, 6/24/2020] Soh Wei Yu: It is relational but not produced or caused

[1:00 PM, 6/24/2020] John Tan: The conventional world is populated with discrete separated objects as the mind sees in bits and pieces and languages play a role in enforcing the hoax of separations.

We link these separated objects and say this causes that.  We must see through all these symbols and names constructs and cause and effect issues, not just no-self.
[1:08 PM, 6/24/2020] John Tan: When you say no? are you able to see how and y it is "no"?  Like choosing, without all its parts, is it still that choosing?

When you flip a coin, can you flip the head without flipping the tail? When you flip the head, you are at the same time flipping the tail.  So can the tail choose not to be flipped?

When we say sensation, sensation is always the sensation of something.  Can there b sensation without an object? And we say sensation is not free from that something?
[1:20 PM, 6/24/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Ic.. yeah.. nothing can be found besides those relations. Sensation of heat cannot be found to reside somewhere besides the exertion of hand grasping on the cup and the hot coffee, etc etc.. Therefore unproduced, not inherent production or cause and effect... If produced then it could exist apart from those relations. Choosing also cannot be found besides the relations which volition plays an important role.. volition etc too is dependently originating. It is not determinism which is a kind of fixed view of inherent production, just dependent origination
[1:27 PM, 6/24/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Choosing is dependent on choosable objects, the subjective mental factors which includes ignorance, afflictions, habits, or conversely wisdom, mindfulness, willpower, external influences, internal rational reasoning, etc etc.. all those factors exerting in the activity of choosing
[1:27 PM, 6/24/2020] John Tan: It is not exactly important how words are being replaced but what exactly is "uprooted" from the process of decosntruction.  It must lift the veil of "production" and separation, entity and it's characteristics to understand the vivid vibrancy of that "tingss"...”

So is this essentially saying that there is only sensation?

Because if as Soh said, sensation was based on the relation between things, then that would still be dualistic, right?

A weird question or realization came up in my head about this.

It’s like in a dream, or even in a visualization, what relationship is the sensation or visuals of a mental image?

Then, what relationship is the sensation or visual of reality…?

There is no hearer, only sound

There is no seer, only forms, colors, shapes.

There’s no thinker, only thought

There is no observer, only experience.

This is a very interesting feeling

So enlightenment is not just an “end-all” realization that changes one’s life permanently, it is a phase of total understanding that can arise but then must be practiced even after the initial breakthrough

Lots of parts of the west really misinterprets that idea of enlightenment

There’s no scent of the flower, the scent is the flower.

Therefore there is no dreamer of a dream, the dream is the dreamer.

There’s no creator of a creation, the creation is the creator.

There are so many angles to approach it at but it still leads to the same feeling just as much as “sound is just sound, there is no hearer”

And the feeling is profound

[shows Walpola Rahula's book What the Buddha Taught]

I realized I’ve had this book

I never really read it thoroughly though


You should read the book by walpola rahula. Well written

Is it the same version as this?

Anatta is the crucial insight. Later has to extend to all phenomena

In 2011:
“I am telling the first and second stanza must go hand in hand to have real insight of anatta even for a start. You must have these 2 aspects of insight in anatta. So what is anatta? Means when you penetrate no-agent, you are effectively developing your direct insight. That is not reifying anything extra. That is direct insight into suchness. So that when you see 'Self', there is nothing but aggregates. When you see 'weather', there is nothing but the changing clouds, rain… when you see 'body', you see changing sensation. When you hear sound, you see the DO [dependent origination], then you see how the 2 fold emptiness are simply one insight and why that leads to 一合相 (yi4 he2 xiang4; one totality/composite of appearance). If there is no insight but cling to words then you missed the essence. That is, the gaining of insight on the 2 stanzas is not to think only of 'Self'” - John Tan, 2011
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Soh Wei Yu
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[10:03 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: To me subject-action-object is just a structure to help articulate and make sense of the world. I do not see it that way. I see it as total exertion of appearance-conditions, not appearance and conditions.
[10:10 PM, 7/27/2020] Soh Wei Yu: You are referring to td unmanifest?
[10:47 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Yes
[10:49 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: If you see object separated from subject or see phenomena apart from mind, no matter how you deconstruct, it is just knowledge. you won't have direct taste of anything.
[10:52 PM, 7/27/2020] Soh Wei Yu: But not all conditions are appearing right, some are simply intuited or inferred even when unseen.. so they are merely conventional
[10:53 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Of course, there is no way to know all conditions involved.
[10:54 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: It is simply to say appearance do not just manifest.
[10:56 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: There is also the experience of spaciousness when you go through the process of deconstructing both subject and object...the experience is like mind body drop.
[11:04 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: When you say, the car is empty but you are sitting inside it...what do you mean?
[11:05 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: It is same as no wind is blowing...
[11:05 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Or lightning flashing
[11:07 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Or spring goes, summer comes...
[11:09 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Means you apply the same insight to everything
[11:09 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Not only the self...
[11:10 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Even movement
[11:13 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: So your mind is perpetually seeing through constructs, so what happens?
[11:16 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Tell me when you say car is empty yet you are sitting on it. you see through the construct, then what happened?
[11:16 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: When you see through the wind that is blowing...what happened?
[11:16 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: When you see through summer or weather? What happened?
[11:17 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Or I say lightning is flashing, when you really see through that lightning...
[11:19 PM, 7/27/2020] Soh Wei Yu: is just the mere appearance.. no reifications
[11:19 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Don't think, experience it...
[11:19 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: you are force into non-conceptuality
[11:21 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Like PCE fact very mindful and watchful when you begin ... you begin to feel the blowing...correct...
[11:21 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: When i say no lightning flashing...u look at the flashing
[11:24 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Correct? Have you actually practice or pay attention, not just blah out a sentence...
[11:25 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: When you say no summer, you are experiencing the heat, humidity...etc
[11:26 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Means you see through the construct but you cannot just think
[11:27 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: When I say there is no car, I touch the car... what is it... ....the color...the leather, the wheels...
[11:28 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: If you constantly and perpetually into that ...what happened?
[11:34 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: You are talking about deconstruction of object and phenomena and I am telling you if you see through, what happens...if you only think, you would not understand...
[11:38 PM, 7/27/2020] Soh Wei Yu: everything is just vibrant spontaneous presence but no subject or object
[11:39 PM, 7/27/2020] Soh Wei Yu: like i dont see solid objects, but just shimmering vibrant colors as vivid empty presence
[11:39 PM, 7/27/2020] Soh Wei Yu: and sounds, sensations, etc
[11:41 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Yes
[11:42 PM, 7/27/2020] John Tan: Then it depends on the depth of experiencing the sensation or appearances themselves

Seeing relations is not dualistic. It is like this, will lead to total exertion:

Contemplating/observing breathing (观呼吸)

2nd translation. As with my first translation, help in correcting is very much appreciated!
观呼吸 (Contemplating/observing breathing)
(2012-08-02 11:00:07)
The Wise One sits there contemplating/observing breathing,
He does not say "I am breathing", "I am breathing"....
That would be solidifying a delusional, non-existent "self"!
And it does not match with the truth of things.
"Breathe in ------- Breathe out", "Breathe in ------- Breathe out"...
He notices that, in it there is no person who is breathing, and there is no person who is being-breathed.
Breathing is on-going, like the wind rising and falling in the sky and earth (world).
It is just like wind going back and forth at the side of a willow leaf.
In the midst of breathing,
There is no independent doer, there does not exist a person who is the feeler of action.
It is the chest, it is the lungs, it is the bones, it is the marrow, it is the blood, it is the flesh,
it is the mind, it is the thought...., it is various conditions that is causing breathing!
When he is breathing in long, he clearly comprehends that he is breathing in long,
but he does not reckon that it is he who is breathing in,
Rather it is that within the various conditions of his breathing in, one imputes another layer of thought "I am doing the breathing in long"
Therefore breathing-in long happens.
When he is breathing out long, he clearly comprehends that he is breathing out long,
But he does not reckon that it is he who is breathing out,
Rather it is that within the various conditions of his breathing out, he imputed another layer of thought "I am doing the breathing out long"
Therefore breathing-out long happens.
When he is breathing in short, he clearly comprehends that he is breathing in short,
But he does not reckon that it is he who is breathing in,
Rather it is that within the various conditions of his breathing in, he imputed another layer of thought "I am doing the breathing in short"
Therefore breathing-in short happens.
When he is breathing out short, he clearly comprehends that he is breathing out short,
But he does not reckon that it is he who is breathing out,
Rather it is that within the various conditions of his breathing out, he imputed another layer of thought "I am doing the breathing out short"
Therefore breathing-out short happens.
Deeply contemplating the breather, returning and relying/taking refuge in the element of wind/air;
Deeply contemplating the breather, seeing with insight that all dharmas are without self!
Deeply contemplating the breather, seeing the dharma of dependent origination;
Because of seeing the dharma of dependent origination, he sees the Thus Come One [Buddha]!
Just like contemplating/observing the breathing,
The Wise One contemplates "feelings, perception, volition and consciousness" ----
And within all feelings, The Wise One does not conceive of a doer, does not conceive of a feeler;
And within "perception, volition and consciousness", it is also likewise.
By contemplating/observing breathing, it is possible to enter the Dharmadhatu;
The Wise One deeply contemplates/observes all dharmas, thereby could understand the reality of all dharmas, and witness the Thus Come One [Buddha]!
Breathing is an entry-point,
All forms, feelings, perceptions, volition, and consciousness are all entry points.
The Wise One sits there contemplating/observing breathing,
He perceives the Ākāśagarbha bodhisattva (bodhisattva of boundless space treasury), perceives the god of the wind,
perceives all the Thus Come Ones [Buddhas] of the three times,
Breathe in --------- Breathe out. Breathe in --------- Breathe out. He is just like heaven and earth.”
Labels: Anatta, Dependent Origination, Maha, One Thought Traveler (一念行者) 0 comments | |

Have you read this article and the maha section:

Also, john tan:

For Case 2 practitioners, they are in a better position to appreciate the doctrine of anatta. When insight of Anatta arises, all experiences become implicitly non-dual. But the insight is not simply about seeing through separateness; it is about the thorough ending of reification so that there is an instant recognition that the ‘agent’ is extra, in actual experience it does not exist. It is an immediate realization that experiential reality has always been so and the existence of a center, a base, a ground, a source has always been assumed.

To mature this realization, even direct experience of the absence of an agent will prove insufficient; there must also be a total new paradigm shift in terms of view; we must free ourselves from being bonded to the idea, the need, the urge and the tendency of analyzing, seeing and understanding our moment to moment of experiential reality from a source, an essence, a center, a location, an agent or a controller and rest entirely on anatta and Dependent Origination.

xabir Snoovatar

Will be good also to write down your new insights, experience and breakthroughs. Between 2010 to 2015 i wrote many journal entries and shared it on my blog

In the ejournal

Mr. JKB:

I haven’t laughed so genuinely since I was 5 years old

And then I was crying tears of joy

The sound of my spoon brushing against the oatmeal I made just now sounded so clear

And the flowers I was looking at looked as beautiful and vibrant as the dust on the dresser

I had this realization but it’s difficult to describe. It felt deep, but it wasn’t terrifying, it was blissful man, like it just felt releasing

And there was no “I” involved, like everything felt just as that

There was no “I” eating or stirring the oatmeal, no “I” that was belly laughing so intensely, no “I” that owned a mind, no “I” that was experiencing anything at all it was just bursts of sensation and feeling

And I don’t say “was” as if it’s still not apparent, but as in, that seemed to feel like a peak of sorts and then it came down, but I still feel a glow and it feels “there” still

It felt so NATURAL



John Tan wrote to Sim Pern Chong (longchen/simpo) in 2006:

Haha...the intuitive experience of non-duality must have made u appreciate deeply the profound teaching of anatta and emptiness.The joy and bliss of total transparency will make us drop from our chairs (it can take few years)...Happy Journey. :)

Mr. JKB:

Thank you so much

This has been so helpful

Now, it’s a practice of stabilizing correct?


Yes.. first stabilize in waking state. Eventually three states, into waking and sleep and dreaming. You can read about it in the books i mentioned and also in the atr guide i gave some examples from my experience on nondual/clear light sleep and clear light dream

Thusness said to Soh (me) in 2013:

"As I suspected (thumbs up) I mean the rainbow body. That can only be done after realization of twofold emptiness and intensity of luminosity into the three states (waking, dreaming, deep sleep)... you are doing pretty well. The integration has been progressing well of the non-dual bliss into your deep sleep state, in view of the short period after your realization of anatta. The inner core must completely disappear and the intensity of luminosity must heighten... Sensations will become transparent and crystal sharp clear.

At present the core center is gone... You write too much and have too little rest. Your mind must have enough time to rest in non-conceptuality of the 6 entries and exits. Otherwise it will not be easy for you to penetrate further. After realizing the twofold emptying there is no more boundaries between mind, appearances and apparent objects and experience becomes seamless... All is mind or this integrated activity. Then we should actualize and integrate this realization.

In touching, both subject and object are both emptied and deconstructed into a single activity of touch and the intensity of luminous clarity must be strong... is it strong now? Or just like passing thoughts with no intensity.

Now penetration of the 3 states is only supported by the strength of your view and realization, not by the intensity of your non-conceptual experience.

"In essence rainbow body is a realization..." Maybe actualization of realization (would be better), in essence it is an actualized state."

my comment: Dzogchen practitioners use the term 'Realization' differently than I and Thusness, 'Realization' could mean something like full actualization or Buddhahood for them and not just an initial insight/recognition/experience.

Also what Thusness said here may be unrelated to Dzogchen rainbow body and is just a personal advise.” -

“Now with your current insight and understanding, what should be the right approach to end this lingering sense of self? Your practice should be always realization, experience and views. Your experience must refine [to be] like the place where there is no heat or cold*. Your anatta view must be extended to whatever arises. Your realization must extend your anatta to dependent origination.” - John Tan, early 2011

*The Place Where There is No Heat or Cold: A monk asked Tozan, “When cold and heat come, how can we avoid them?”

Tozan said, “Why don’t you go to the place where there is no cold or heat?”

The monk said, “What is the place where there is no cold or heat?”

Tozan said, “When it’s cold, the cold kills you; when it’s hot, the heat kills you.”

This is not advice to “accept” your situation, as some commentators have suggested, but a direct expression of authentic practice and enlightenment. Master Tozan is not saying, “When cold, shiver; when hot, sweat,” nor is he saying, “When cold, put on a sweater; when hot, use a fan.” In the state of authentic practice and enlightenment, the cold kills you, and there is only cold in the whole universe. The heat kills you, and there is only heat in the whole universe. The fragrance of incense kills you, and there is only the fragrance of incense in the whole universe. The sound of the bell kills you, and there is only “boooong” in the whole universe...

~The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing, Ted Biringer

(8:25 PM) Thusness:      “Mindfulness is participatory observation. The meditator is both participant and observer at one and the same time. If one watches one's emotions or physical sensations, one is feeling them at that very same moment. Mindfulness is not an intellectual awareness. It is just awareness. The mirror-thought metaphor breaks down here. Mindfulness is objective, but it is not cold or unfeeling.

(8:25 PM) Thusness:      It is the wakeful experience of life, an alert participation in the ongoing process of living. “ - An excerpt from Mindfulness in Plain English by Venerable Henepola Gunaratana,

(8:25 PM) Thusness:      This is very good. But there is still trace of duality. It is very difficult to go beyond it and say phenomena is it. Therefore what that is taught and proclaimed in Lankavatara Sutra is often not realised. It is very difficult for one to experience the transparency I am talking about. Once experienced, all will be very clear. Perhaps the only one that can break through is longchen [Sim Pern Chong]. This is if he can non-dual in all three states (waking, dreaming, deep sleep) and let be. Then at the waking state, the presence can be so powerful that there is no boundary at all. The body is a total non-obstruction and the Presence stands out as if consciousness is out of the body and phenomena alone is. The body thing requires one to experience non-dual and be in all three states. Then the waking state becomes powerfully charged with presence, vitality, clarity and radiance. If one can sustain this continuously then "transparency body" is attained. :) This is what I mean the transcendental body.” - John Tan, 2007

More quotes on sleep:

"To find one that can completely surrender and totally be is extremely rare. Not even one in millions. Yet in deep sleep, all has to let go. How can one be denied such a precious state of beingness.

For a person that has experienced no-self (non-duality), deep sleep is even more important. It is the completion of a full cycle of non-duality and natural beingness.

But this may not be the case for one that clings to the "Eternal Witnessing". There is a very subtle holding in them for maintaining this witnessing subconsciously thereby denying them from naturally going into deep sleep. If it reaches a point that presents itself as a problem, it is a signal to the practitioner that it is time to let go and dissolve the holding of the Witness, the center. It will be tough to simply try just "let go" of the center and if this is the case, an insight into our "emptiness nature" may help.

Only after going through a full cycle of natural non-duality and beingness in all three states (waking, dreaming and deep sleep) will a practitioner sleep be shortened. I called this the second cycle of non-duality." - John Tan, 2007

“There is no need to maintain anything during deep sleep. It is non-dual by itself. More pure than anything. :)” - John Tan, 2007

"The deep dreamless sleep is a very precious state of being, a natural samadhi of its own, a measure of accomplishment in the first complete cycle of non-dual. If conditions are understood along with our pristine nature, all 3 states flow as a single whole." - John Tan, 2007

“Yes Longchen,

Very well said. There never was a gap, it can't be. It is one whole flow and nothing else. When there is one, there is two. When the one subsides, nothing isn't the one Reality.

Clear transparency of the One Reality also has its problem. An illumination into the non-duality without certain pre-requisite can cause problems. There is always habitual propensities that will again make this experience an object of attachment. It can cause a person to go without sleep as the body is incapable of dealing with this newfound experience. Many have mistaken this to be a heightening of awareness and took it as a natural progression. This is not true. Whenever this happens, know that it is due to attachment. Learn how to let go of everything until a tranquil calmness arise, it has got to do with our thought patterns, there must come this willingness to let go of our body completely, then our thoughts and the experience of presence… completely letting go from moment to moment… the senses and thoughts can be shut by this art of letting go and non-attachment. Total letting go and vivid Presence must fuse into one.

Practice during the waking state till there is no single trace of doubt that there is absolutely no one there, no inner and no outer, just the incredible realness and vividness of the manifestation. The experience of non-dual in the waking state. Witnessing dreams and there is no witness, just dreams is different. Dealing with the more subtle states and pre-conscious propensities require one to master this art of non-attachment, non-action. There is no conscious way of dealing with the more subtle states, just stabilized the experience and allow the momentum to carry us naturally into the dream and deep sleep. Sleep well. :)” - John Tan, 2006

"You don't need clarity [during sleep] like in conscious state. You only need the strength of insight to penetrate the 3 states (Soh: waking, dreaming, deep sleep)." - John Tan, 2019

"Focus on wisdom and letting the strength of insights penetrate the 3 states (Soh: waking, dreaming, deep sleep)." - John Tan, 2019

By wisdom, John Tan refers to the insight of anatta, dependent origination and emptiness (as in John Tan Stage 5 and 6).


Btw you wrote a comment on someone’s thread who wrote, “God is lonely.

Ive had this experience a few times where Ill feel extreme loneliness, it feels as though Im 'God', the only one, i know I am it and that there is nothing except me and my creation, and in order to rid myself of that loneliness, conscious beings are created to experience life as a part of something. It was a bit scary, and its really hard to put into words. But its like in my mind i knew that all of life is just a manifestation of   me in different forms, and at the center of it all, exist that one thing unto which all come from. It was as if im inside the mind of god, had its thoughts of why life and consciousness exists, and I realized that no matter how many times i press the big bang button, i will always still be alone. It was a very dark, shadowy place, lonely beyond comprehension, as if you are the only human alive. This was rather recently and im still trying to collect my thoughts on the experience. But i can say that reincarnation suddenly made a lot of sense to me, as well as Non-duality.”

That should be clear to you that it is not the case.

“RESPONDENT: I’m just here more or less alone, I guess.

RICHARD: Each and every human being is on their own as a flesh and blood body ... dependent upon no one; autonomous. Being ‘alone’ or lonely is a feature of being a self: ‘I’, the identity, am inside the body looking out through ‘my’ eyes as if looking out through a window, listening through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting through ‘my’ tongue, touching through ‘my’ skin, smelling through ‘my’ nose, and thinking through ‘my’ brain. Of course ‘I’ must feel isolated, alienated, alone and lonely, for ‘I’ am cut off from the magnificence of the actual world ... the world as-it-is.

RESPONDENT: I didn’t mean lonely by alone.

RICHARD: One of the hallmarks of self-realisation is to no longer feel the common or garden variety of loneliness but to experience the utter aloneness of being ‘The One With No Other’; the mystical literature abounds with descriptions of the master being alone ... in its root meaning of ‘all+one’ (ME ‘al one’ from ‘al ane’ from OE ‘al ana’ from ‘al an’ where ‘al’=‘all’ and ‘ana’/‘an’=‘one’). And I am not necessarily being pedagogic by digging around in the dictionaries ... for example:

• [Spiritual Seeker]: ‘Contrary to what you have said, Krishnamurti never says that he has a Soul, a Self.

• [Richard]: ‘I beg to differ: [quote]: ‘I maintain that the only spirituality is the incorruptibility of the self which is eternal ... this is the absolute, unconditioned Truth which is Life itself’. [end quote].

• [Spiritual Seeker]: ‘His use of ‘sacred’ and ‘holy’ do not make him so, though you use the dictionary to establish your point. Krishnamurti often departed from the dictionary meaning and substituted another meaning. For example, ‘alone’ he made to mean ‘all one’.

• [Richard]: ‘Once again, I beg to differ: he did not make ‘alone’ mean ‘all one’ at all ... etymologically it already means ‘all one’.

The mystical quality applied to ‘alone’ has popularly come to mean ‘we are all one’ ... but the master is indeed alone in the sense of being solitary. In solipsism  only oneself exists – there is no ‘others’ – and in some of the more archaic religions this gives rise to speculation that their god or goddess dreams universes peopled with beings for amusement or sport ... out of loneliness and/or boredom. Speaking personally, I was alone for eleven years – but never lonely – and one of the first things I noticed, upon breaking free of the massive delusion of godliness, was the ending of aloneness ... and I am still never, ever lonely. As a discrete flesh and blood body I am physically on my own and autonomous, but with no separative entity to feel either lonely or alone – cut off from the magnificence of the actual – the entire feeling of being solitary has ceased to exist.” - AF Richard,

But AF richard went into the physicalist extreme after anatta due to not penetrating into twofold emptiness.

Also John Tan said, “The subsuming of everything into one's mind took place because one's mind seems to be the common factor in the mode of enquiry in solipsism.


However if using the same line of reasoning, it is in others’ mind as well.  If everything is in everyone's mind, then mind is no more the common factor but "Everything".  If you see this common factor of everything and shift your attention to everything, then experience turns very "physical".


Prasangika overcomes such issue by inquiring into its "inherentness".  Taking the “seed-plant-tree" example, why is the seed "growing"? Is there anything at the side of the "sprout" that is saying it is growing?  It can be understood as a decaying process as well.” - John Tan, 2019

[1:07 PM, 11/25/2020] John Tan: Only when you subsume into one, it turns solipsistic.  So either freedom of extremes or you see DO and total exertion and emptiness.  Then you do not fall into extremes.

“Although Bhāviveka doesn’t struggle that much, he is quite clear:

“Since [the tīrthika position of] self, permanence, all pervasiveness and oneness contradict their opposite, [the Buddhist position of] no-self, impermanence, non-pervasiveness and multiplicity, they are completely different.” – Kyle Dixon, 2020

“Bhāviveka demonstrates the proper way to view buddhanature:

The statement "The tathāgata pervades" means wisdom pervades all objects of knowledge, but it does not mean abiding in everything like Viśnu. Further, "Tathāgatagarbhin" means emptiness, signlessness and absence of aspiration exist the continuums of all sentient beings, but is not an inner personal agent pervading everyone.” – Kyle Dixon, 2021

More quotes like above in the solipsism chapter in the atr guide.

Likewise there is no universal consciousness.. which is the danger of the term “one mind” because people tend to reify the “one” into something like a shared universal entity. There is no such thing when “mind” is just an abstraction like weather

Loppon Namdrol/Malcolm: "Buddhism is all its forms is strictly nominalist, and rejects all universals (samanya-artha) as being unreal abstractions."

Also a redditor who realised anatta wrote

“There is no denial of consciousness (vijñāna) in Buddhism. In fact, its actual translation in some texts is 'dualistic consciousness'. It is not a denial of consciousness, because without consciousness, how can you see, hear, taste, smell, touch and think?

In SN25.3, however, Buddha says:

Monks, eye-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

The error is not in seeing the results of the function of what you call awareness, but taking awareness to be a singular real thing. For example, it is undeniable that there are sights, sounds, tastes, smells, touch and thoughts. We are not denying that. In fact, Buddha says that for every sense-object, there is a corresponding consciousness.

So actually, there are six different sense-consciousnesses:

The eye-consciousness in dependence with sight and the eye-faculty

The ear-consciousness, sounds, ear-faculty...

... The thinking-consciousness, thoughts, thinking-faculty

The error comes when we start to group all these six together within one singular boundary - we reify the sense of a global consciousness that extends throughout these six. In the Mahayana teachings, this is explained as the seventh consciousness grasping at what is seen, heard, smelt, tasted, touched or thought of as Objects, and at the seeing/hearing/smelling/tasting/touching/thinking faculties as the Subject.

Here is an analogy:

When we say the word 'Shapes' what comes to mind? We can say rectangles, squares, stars, circles, lines, polygons, parallelograms, and more. However, if we simply said the word "shape", this word by itself would not mean anything without the rectangles, squares, stars [...].

This is what we call in language, an abstract noun. In the dictionary, it says this as the definition: "a noun denoting an idea, quality, or state rather than a concrete object".

In the same way, we have a tendency to abstract-ize things and form very concrete ideas of them existing. Does it mean that rectangles, squares [...] are not shapes? It does not mean that. However, the word "shape" by itself is very meaningless - we conventionally call it a shape for the sake of convenience. In fact, we just assume that it exists just for the sake of convenience.

In the same way, when sights, sounds, tastes, smells, sensations, and thoughts arise, we group them all together as "sense objects" or "experience". These are just names, just conceptual designations, that are abstract ideas pointing to what is directly there in experience. The problem when taken to extreme is that it is solidified as "Objects".

In the converse way, when the seeing-consciousness [...] are grouped in an abstract way, we take it as a singular consciousness. Even more erroneously, we can even go as far as to extend this abstraction to every being on the planet. Again, this is just a name, an abstract idea, pointing to the six consciousnesses. When taken to the extreme, it is solidified as a "Subject".

In fact, this subject-object duality is the root of a lot of problems. We love abstract-ifying things and then solidifying that abstracted idea into something that seems very real. For example, we can take a bunch of common bodily sensations and think that we are "right here". If you examine carefully, these sensations have already disappeared, and are replaced with another bunch of rapidly arising-and-passing-away sensations in random locations.

To end this reply, I would also like to quote this sutta (Ud 1.10) which points directly to the heart of no self:

'In the seen will be merely what is seen;

in the heard will be merely what is heard;

in the sensed will be merely what is sensed;

in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.'

In this way you should train yourself, Bahiya.

"When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen...

in the cognized is merely what is cognized,

then, Bahiya, you will not be 'with that.'

When, Bahiya, you are not 'with that,'

then, Bahiya, you will not be 'in that.'

When, Bahiya, you are not 'in that,'

then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two.

Just this is the end of suffering."


"For example, we can take a bunch of common bodily sensations and think that we are "right here". If you examine carefully, these sensations have already disappeared, and are replaced with another bunch of rapidly arising-and-passing-away sensations in random locations."

this deconstruction of 'mind' or 'consciousness' also applies to 'body'. so if 'body' is deconstructed after anatta, you experience mind body drop.

like how someone described his experience of mind body drop after anatta:

“Your movement of thought interferes with the process of touch, just as it does with the other senses. Anything you touch is always translated as 'hard', 'soft', 'warm', 'cold', 'wet', 'dry', and so on.

You do not realize it, but it is your thinking that creates your own body. Without this thought process there is no body consciousness -- which is to say there is no body at all. My body exists for other people; it does not exist for me; there are only isolated points of contact, impulses of touch which are not tied together by thought. So the body is not different from the objects around it; it is a set of sensations like any others. Your body does not belong to you.

Perhaps I can give you the 'feel' of this. I sleep four hours at night, no matter what time I go to bed. Then I lie in bed until morning fully awake. I don't know what is lying there in the bed; I don't know whether I'm lying on my left side or my right side -- for hours and hours I lie like this. If there is any noise outside -- a bird or something -- it just echoes in me. I listen to the "flub-dub-flub-dub" of my heart and don't know what it is. There is no body between the two sheets -- the form of the body is not there. If the question is asked, "What is in there?" there is only an awareness of the points of contact, where the body is in contact with the bed and the sheets, and where it is in contact with itself, at the crossing of the legs, for example. There are only the sensations of touch from these points of contact, and the rest of the body is not there. There is some kind of heaviness, probably the gravitational pull, something very vague. There is nothing inside which links up these things. Even if the eyes are open and looking at the whole body, there are still only the points of contact, and they have no connection with what I am looking at. If I want to try to link up these points of contact into the shape of my own body, probably I will succeed, but by the time it is completed the body is back in the same situation of different points of contact. The linkage cannot stay. It is the same sort of thing when I'm sitting or standing. There is no body.

Can you tell me how mango juice tastes? I can't. You also cannot; but you try to relive the memory of mango juice now -- you create for yourself some kind of an experience of how it tastes -- which I cannot do. I must have mango juice on my tongue -- seeing or smelling it is not enough -- in order to be able to bring that past knowledge into operation and to say "Yes, this is what mango juice tastes like." This does not mean that personal preferences and 'tastes' change. In a market my hand automatically reaches out for the same items that I have liked all my life. But because I cannot conjure up a mental experience, there can be no craving for foods which are not there.

Smell plays a greater part in your daily life than does taste. The olfactory organs are constantly open to odors. But if you do not interfere with the sense of smell, what is there is only an irritation in the nose. It makes no difference whether you are smelling cow dung or an expensive French perfume -- you rub the nose and move on.” - U.G. Krishnamurti, The Mystique of Enlightenment

“Is there in you an entity which you call the 'I' or the 'mind' or the 'self'? Is there a co- ordinator who is co-ordinating what you are looking at with what you are listening to, what you are smelling with what you are tasting, and so on? Or is there anything which links together the various sensations originating from a single sense -- the flow of impulses from the eyes, for example? Actually, there is always a gap between any two sensations. The co-ordinator bridges that gap: he establishes himself as an illusion of continuity.

In the natural state there is no entity who is coordinating the messages from the different senses. Each sense is functioning independently in its own way. When there is a demand from outside which makes it necessary to coordinate one or two or all of the senses and come up with a response, still there is no co-ordinator, but there is a temporary state of coordination. There is no continuity; when the demand has been met, again there is only the uncoordinated, disconnected, disjointed functioning of the senses. This is always the case. Once the continuity is blown apart -- not that it was ever there; but the illusory continuity -- it's finished once and for all.

Can this make any sense to you? It cannot. All that you know lies within the framework of your experience, which is of thought. This state is not an experience. I am only trying to give you a 'feel' of it, which is, unfortunately, misleading.

When there is no co-ordinator, there is no linking of sensations, there is no translating of sensations; they stay pure and simple sensations. I don't even know that they are sensations. I may look at you as you are talking. The eyes will focus on your mouth because that is what is moving, and the ears will receive the sound vibrations. There is nothing inside which links up the two and says that it is you talking. I may be looking at a spring bubbling out of the earth and hear the water, but there is nothing to say that the noise being heard is the sound of water, or that that sound is in any way connected with what I am seeing. I may be looking at my foot, but nothing says that this is my foot. When I am walking, I see my feet moving -- it is such a funny thing: "What is that which is moving?"

What functions is a primordial consciousness, untouched by thought.” - U.G. Krishnamurti, U.G. Krishnamurti: The Mystique of Enlightenment




btw you're working now? what do you work as?

Mr A.
Nov 12

I am not working today but I’m currently a server, food runner, and help with the bar at my restaurant by making shrubs and syrups

Also, my older comments on my reddit, I will definitely say that after this conversation and learning more about Buddhism it has eased those ideas I used to have and makes me see how ungrounded and ridiculous they are hahaha

Not in a bad way, but just how naive I was to think you know, like I got lost in my own story

The taste of mango thing, that’s interesting and brought up another realization;

In the same way I cannot describe the taste of mango, only can I describe something else as reminding me of the taste of mango and vice versa, I cannot describe reality, I can only describe a metaphor reminding me of reality

Yet the taste of mango and reality are purely experiential

And so is the sound of someone describing a metaphor or relating a flavor

Furthermore going back to the solipsism and universal consciousness idea, I can see more clearly why that couldn’t be so

Although there can be described “ear-consciousness” and “eye-consciousness” which is just sound and sight, it’s also thought that creates those ideas of consciousness as being separate from each other, separate pieces creating a whole which brings about a sense of togetherness or a sense of loneliness depending on the person you’re asking

I’m explaining too much again

Or attempting to

I wrote something in my journal though

It’s in regards to the 3 states explained

You know it’s funny because I had a very very brief glimpse of bringing awareness through the 3 states but I just didn’t pay any mind to it. This was a couple years back I want to say

And yesterday, I had another glimpse, which led to that experience, which arose because of this conversation with you and a conversation I had with a friend earlier that morning

But I saw a visual in my mind, almost like, there’s only Presence, and this Presence is never eternal, because it is constantly shifting. Every single “day” is like a fireworks display of color, forms, scents, sounds, tastes, touch, and thoughts, all happening at once.

But it’s more like, the “day” does not start when one wakes up in the apparent “physical”, it starts in “dream sleep”, because all sensations arise spontaneously starting with dreams, except the sensations are more “loose”.

And then, at “waking up”, the sensations are more “solid”.

And then, at “sleep”, when dreamless sleep approaches, there is no sensation.

But this isn’t a “cycle”, necessarily, because a “cycle” implies “eternalness”.

The only thing that gives and supports the appearance of a “cycle”, is the Mind attached to memory and possibility, yet those never exist in the dreamless state. It is only when the sensations arise again, that memory is seemingly “reimagined” and possibility too.

But that would destroy the whole “point” of Presence, because Presence is just what is, “now” or “here”.

What’s only going on, is that Presence is - and I’m saying this loosely - like a “fabric”, but it’s ungraspable. It flips inside out and outside in of itself, yet when it is flipped on “one side”, there is no “other side” to it. It’s confusing and seemingly illogical and nonsensical to those who attempt to comprehend it intellectually, but once it realized and experienced, then there’s that clarity to it.

And I think that’s what brought up the experience last night, is that as “I” sat in the dining room, there was “fabric” yet no self that was experiencing the fabric because there was only THAT. There was only sitting, only eating, only thought, only sound, only sensation. There was no “other side” of this fabric at that moment, there was just that, and only that, and the room felt much like how it would during a psychedelic trip - expansive, interconnected, “one”, yet there was no thing that experienced it.

And today, it seems that it’s coming up again. I am practicing to keep that clarity, as if each moment is simply a meditation. And when I become more aware that there’s no “I”, just the fabric without an “other” side, then there arises that feeling again

But throughout the day, I will remember, “There is no self”, even when I’m in the middle of something, without stopping the activity, and if there is stillness, I’ll also keep that in mind


yes good. when you are free maybe you can write something about your recent insights and experience and how it differs from your previous realisation and understanding of I AM/Eternal Witness and share it with the reddit communities you frequent. hopefully it may spur more interest by others to investigate deeper :)

"Although there can be described “ear-consciousness” and “eye-consciousness” which is just sound and sight, it’s also thought that creates those ideas of consciousness as being separate from each other, separate pieces creating a whole which brings about a sense of togetherness or a sense of loneliness depending on the person you’re asking"

yes these are also ultimately conventional but taught for the purpose of deconstructing self or consciousness as some self-standing unchanging and separate witness or knower of phenomena. due to the delusion of a self-nature one mistakens awareness, hearing, seeing, etc as something that could exist in and of itself indepedent of sensory data and sense faculty. like all the eternalists say "objects come and go, but the seeing of it remains unaffected even in the absence or presence of those objects" etc

but this is not the case as acarya malcolm just said today also, "If there is no sense organ, there is no sense organ consciousness. This again is just basic Abhidharma.", "As I said, darkness is part of form, and that is counted as an object of the eye sense organ, and thus produces an eye consciousness."


Mr A:

I’m definitely going to start writing some things down and comparing

I also am a few chapters in the book I have, and it’s astonishing how much it’s just “clicking” all of a sudden

Today, while I was at work too, I had a long day had to pull a double shift so I was there from 8AM this morning and got home at 9PM

Something I noticed though was that anytime I began to get stressed, overwhelmed, tired, I was able to remind myself, “there’s no ‘I’”, and it made everything lighter in weight

It seemed no longer that there was any “I” doing anything at all, that it was all just a current of phenomenon. It’s mind-blowing for me how much it’s helping.

I don’t know how to thank you enough

"I also am a few chapters in the book I have, and it’s astonishing how much it’s just “clicking” all of a sudden"


nice. probably doesnt resonate at all before your recent shift. hahaha

xabir Snoovatar

this is good.. no-self makes presence easily and effortless integrated into daily life and activities. before that, maintaining presence is always a struggle and subtle efforting because one is always trying to dissociate and using effort to maintain a state of presence or get back to a witnessing state. even if logically one says 'its what i am, so there is no effort in it' but practically speaking there is not that pure luminous taste of existence or presence every moment and so one resorts to mental confirmation arises to recapture a state of presence, which is a futile attempt. or one attempts to deepen samadhi states into nirvikalpa samadhi but it is not spontaneous and effortless. but now you know presence is effortlessly nondual, spontaneous presence in moment to moment manifestation and activities without duality and contrivance, natural like you said.

your no-self must be actualized not only in passive experience like sounds and sights (although you should have quality time everyday meditating in silence and stillness) but also in actions, in activities, in work, etc.. then whole life becomes practice-enlightenment and liberation. eventually as it matures your action is no longer the action of a 'self', but the total exertion of the universe just like what i wrote about when i walk, the universe is walking. immense and cosmic, yet natural and ordinary.

the zen master layman pang said,

“My daily activities are not unusual,
I'm just naturally in harmony with them.
Grasping nothing, discarding nothing,
In every place there's no hindrance, no conflict.
Who assigns the ranks of vermilion and purple?
The hills' and mountains' last speck of dust
is extinguished.
[My] supernatural power and marvelous activity—
Drawing water and carrying firewood.” - Layman Pang

“In Zen, enlightenment implies full integration into activities. Any lack of such insight is not 'enlightenment in Zen'.” - John Tan, 2010

“Just met a friend yesterday who recently started meditating. His girlfriend joked that he might be becoming a monk. I told him that besides the daily sitting meditation, practice is mostly and very much in daily life and engagement rather than in some remote region in the mountains, it is about living a life in the marketplace that is spontaneously beneficial for oneself and others around, and joyful, rather than one that is miserable. It is fully engaged and free.

“At its deepest, most basic level, Zen—or any spiritual path, for that matter—is much more than a list of what we can get from it. In fact, Zen is the realization of the oneness of life in all its aspects. It’s not just the pure or “spiritual” part of life: it’s the whole thing. It’s flowers, mountains, rivers, streams, and the inner city and homeless children on Forty-second Street. It’s the empty sky and the cloudy sky and the smoggy sky, too. It’s the pigeon flying in the empty sky, the pigeon shitting in the empty sky, and walking through the pigeon droppings on the sidewalk. It’s the rose growing in the garden, the cut rose shining in the vase in the living room, the garbage where we throw away the rose, and the compost where we throw away the garbage. Zen is life—our life. It’s coming to the realization that all things are nothing but expressions of myself. And myself is nothing but the full expression of all things. It’s a life without limits. There are many different metaphors for such a life. But the one that I have found the most useful, and the most meaningful, comes from the kitchen. Zen masters call a life that is lived fully and completely, with nothing held back, “the supreme meal.” And a person who lives such a life—a person who knows how to plan, cook, appreciate, serve, and offer the supreme meal of life, is called a Zen cook.”

“But why does a venerable elder such as yourself waste time doing the hard work of a head cook?” Dogen persisted. “Why don’t you spend your time practicing meditation or studying the words of the masters?” The Zen cook burst out laughing, as if Dogen had said something very funny. “My dear foreign friend,” he said, “it’s clear you do not yet understand what Zen practice is all about. When you get the chance, please come and visit me at my monastery so we can discuss these matters more fully.” And with that, he gathered up his mushrooms and began the long journey back to his monastery. Dogen did eventually visit and study with the Zen cook in his monastery, as well as with many other masters. When he finally returned to Japan, Dogen became a celebrated Zen master. But he never forgot the lessons he learned from the Zen cook in China.”

- Zen Master Bernie Glassman” - Soh, 2019

'You get up in the morning, dress, wash your face, and so on; you call these miscellaneous thoughts, but all that is necessary is that there be no perceiver or perceived when you perceive—no hearer or heard when you hear, no thinker or thought when you think. Buddhism is very easy and very economical; it spares effort, but you yourself waste energy and make your own hardships.'
(Foyan Qingyuan, in Instant Zen, p 70)


(11:54 PM) AEN: "Being one with our moment-to-moment experience, as we are in the bottom-up practice of just sitting, gives us a taste of nonseparation that is more continuous with our daily lives. Being one with chopping vegetables may sound less glamorous than being one with the universe, but gradually we come to realize the whole universe is contained in that act of chopping.
(11:56 PM) Thusness: that's good
and until it becomes natural
(11:57 PM) Thusness: that is the fruition of deep insight and practice
(11:57 PM) AEN: ..."Our usual way of thinking is to think about something - we sit and think about something out there that our thoughts are describing or imagining. This kind of thinking is characterized by its descriptive content - what it's about. But what if instead of focusing on the content of thought, we see thought as an activity on its own right?
(11:58 PM) AEN: As something that we, or our body, does? Our foot itches, our knee hurts, our head thinks. It is just this perspective that labelling our thoughts come about. When we repeat the thought "thinking about 'the cat on the mat,'" our attention is no longer on the cat but on ourselves having a thought, engaging in the activity of thinking. Often in Zen literature we find the words not-doing used to refer to a not-separate mode of functioning. No thinker having a thought. Just the activity of thinking.
(11:58 PM) AEN: And what Dogen means here by "think not-thinking" is that not-separate activity of thinking - a thinking that is just the activity of thinking itself, as he says, beyond thinking about anything.
(12:01 AM) AEN: "According to the Buddha, all dharmas (things or moments of experience) are empty of any fixed or essential nature. This lack of any individual essential nature can also be seen as another consequence of oneness - all dharmas are aspects of a constantly changing, co-determined, interdependent whole. To speak of the self as empty is to remark on the transience of all experience, without positing any permanent experiencer or observer set up in the background who watches it all go by.
(12:02 AM) Thusness: very well said
(12:02 AM) AEN: When emptiness is used to convey impermanence, there is no one psychological state that corresponds to the "feeling" of emptiness, any more than there is a state of experiencing pure being. If I say an apple is round and red, how many attributes am I listing? Does it possesses being as an attribute in the same way it possesses redness and roundness? Could it have just the roundness and redness but not the being?
(12:02 AM) Thusness: it is to correctly understand this non-dual experience as action without the actor so that the insight of anatta can arise.
(12:03 AM) AEN: To posit some intrinsic being or appleness alongside the apple's physical qualities of color, shape, and texture (and their constant, if ever so slight, physical changes) is to posit the sort of fixed, unchanging essence that the Buddha's teaching denies. Likewise, the emptiness of the self is not an additional attribute in any way on top of, behind, or between the gaps of moment-to-moment experience. It is not the silence between or behind our thoughts. It is just a way of saying that this moment-to-moment experience is all there is.
(12:04 AM) Thusness: it is a realization that moment to moment of experience is just so.
(12:04 AM) AEN: icic..
(12:12 AM) AEN: anyway thats by an author "Barry Magid" who is also a psychiatrist and zen teacher
i borrowed the book from a library just now to take a look
(12:13 AM) Thusness: ic...well written
(12:24 AM) AEN: the book is called "Ordinary Mind"... now i realise zen is really all about that.. i remember his teacher charlotte joko beck also wrote about daily lives practice "Everyday Zen" and "Nothing Special: Living Zen". he wrote alot about distinguishing peak experiences from "just doing the dishes, just taking out the trash"

Session Start: Sunday, 6 September, 2009

(4:24 PM) Thusness: yes zen is about ordinary experience
(4:25 PM) Thusness: yet u must understand what is meant by ordinary mind. :)
the ordinary mind is the mind of anatta.
(4:27 PM) AEN: oic..
(4:27 PM) Thusness: if we pretend to be ordinary and try to 'look' for expression of ordinariness then we are deluded. If we fail to realize that true ordinari-ness comes from the realization of anatta and mistaken the finger for the moon, we are deluded.
(4:28 PM) Thusness: without the insight of anatta, how could we ever understand the essence of being natural, effortless and ordinary? This is what Buddhism meant by ordinary.
(4:30 PM) AEN: icic.. it has to do with insight that makes nondual experience from concentrative to effortless?
(4:31 PM) Thusness: yet I have seen ppl aftering 'ordinariness', try to be 'nothing special', attempting to look for expression of ordinariness. That is why for zen practitioners, they will not understand the seven phases of experience. They are caught up by 'forms', by the stages of the OX herding and missed the insight. :)
(4:31 PM) AEN: oic..
(4:32 PM) Thusness: unless practitioners realize clearly how these insights lead to the ordinary and natural state, there is no meaning in looking for 'sweep floor and washing dishes' or 'chop wood carry water'.
(4:33 PM) AEN: icic..
(4:34 PM) AEN: i remember last time lzls also told nai min not to look for the 'blue sky' just daily activities is enough... but thats diff from insight rite
(4:34 PM) Thusness: this is the next disease of Zen. These practitioners are actively looking for such expressions. They do not have the wisdom to discern.
(4:34 PM) AEN: oic
(4:35 PM) Thusness: what u have to awaken is the insights into our empty yet luminous nature then talk about ordinariness and the natural state.
(4:35 PM) Thusness: that is why I told u don't talk about natural state or spontaneous arising.
(4:35 PM) AEN: icic..
(4:35 PM) Thusness: however ppl just like to talk about that.
(4:36 PM) AEN: so whats impt is realisation of anatta, when anatta is realised then there is naturally the experience of ordinariness, but before that ordinariness is also contrived?
(4:36 PM) Thusness: yes
(4:36 PM) Thusness: once u realized anatta, ordinariness and the natural state mean something very different.
(4:37 PM) Thusness: u can breathe hard, u can breathe soft, yet both are considered natural and ordinary.
(4:38 PM) Thusness: u can take deep breath or short breath, still as non-dual, natural and ordinary.
(4:38 PM) AEN: oic..
(4:38 PM) Thusness: sincere practitioners can take many years to come to this natural state even after the initial glimpse of insight.
(4:39 PM) Thusness: of the anatta insight i mean.

xabir Snoovatar

to continue from what i said earlier about the ayatanas (Āyatana (Pāli; Sanskrit: आयतन) is a Buddhist term that has been translated as "sense base", "sense-media" or "sense sphere". )

there is something john tan wrote last year,

Buddha named consciousness after its ayatanas. This is to prevent us from abstracting and reifying a pure self standing consciousness. In other words, consciousness is in a perpetual state of fluxing and if you where to slice a moment out of this stream of consciousness-ing, it is always one of the six types of consciousness -- eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness and mental-consciousness."

also, there is a good article by stian on how to overcome I/me/mine making through contemplating on this

Impossible to Discern Dependent Origination and See a Self
Two things for sharing today

1) Someone lurking in the AtR group just realised anatta recently after being stuck in I AM for many years, then went into nondual and anatta. I'll let him post about it on his own, or not, as he wishes.

2) Stian posted something in his group Idappaccayata which John and I like, sharing it here:

(Also related, read this Buddha's teaching:

Consciousness is named after the conditions that give rise to it.)

Stian Gudmundsen Høiland
Admin · 16 hrs
Try this. Go slow. Read the comments. Then try again. Slowly.
So I am seeing
Let’s use it to investigate dependent arising
Three factors; what are they?
Eye, form & visual awareness
What does the Buddha say?
"Visual awareness arises dependent
On eye & form"
So, while closely contemplating seeing, consider right now:
"The conditions for visual awareness are currently complete,
thus I have this visual awareness
About this visual awareness, depending on eyes,
Were these eyes now to disappear—when they do eventually disappear—then, this visual awareness, dependent on eyes, would stop
also for this visual awareness—dependent on *form*—
Suddenly, would there be no form at all,
then too,
this visual awareness—dependent on form—would stop"
"So this visual awareness is dependent,
And not independent
Such is its arising, such is its ceasing"
Dependent on eye & form
Arises visual awareness
"It simply arises & ceases 'like so'"
"'So' it comes; 'so' it goes"
5You, Alejandro Serrano, Yacine Haffar and 2 others
8 CommentsSeen by 37

📷Active NowStian Gudmundsen Høiland📷 So we see that it has a condition, on account of which presence it arises and absence it ceases.

From having a condition, we see it is impermanent: If in response to the presence of the condition it arises, then in response to the absence of the condition it ceases. Having arisen dependent on a cause, it is thus impermanent, since—having arisen *in dependence* on the presence of the cause—the absence of the cause entails its cessation.

Consider closely this part:

> If in response to the presence of the condition it arises...

Why is it that we get from that the consequence of:

> ... then in response to the absence of the condition it ceases.

It is because the arising is bound to the state of presence (of the condition). When the condition is no longer present, then—since it arose *dependent* on (the presence of) that condition—it will thus cease.

So, "arising with a cause" necessitates "cessation when the cause disappears".

What becomes understood here is called impermanence, and when that understanding goes even further what is understood is called "conditionedness".2
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📷Active NowStian Gudmundsen Høiland📷 Being a conditioned thing, it is something "out from control". Dukkha, anatta.

... it is something completely determined by conditions—there is no "free" factor beside conditions that could otherwise overrule its conditions and make it arise or cease. In fact, such a thing would just be... a condition.

Grasping/understanding conditionedness is very close to what is called dispassion. The coming and going of things—and quite so by themselves—keeps the mind from fascinating about things as-if they were permanent and could be controlled by a single entity (this "as-if" attitude is quite unconscious and hidden from us), and this leads to a hands-off approach, i.e. doesn’t grasp and cling.

Emptiness, here, very specifically means what one intuits as the lack of "being worthy of" or "deserving" grasping and clinging. By understanding conditionedness one intuits the reason of not deserving grasping and not being worthy of clinging. This intuited "quality" lies very close to what is called dukkha and anatta. What one thus intuits or understands is called "(the state of) being void", but which we get translated as "emptiness". The result of understanding how (thus conditioned) things (i.e. things that are conditioned as such, i.e. arises dependent on condition, i.e. is conditionally arisen, i.e. conditioned arising) are void is called many things, for example "dispassion". This dispassion is tantamount to non-involvement (atammayata?) with conditioned things, a slight turning away of the mind from conditioned things, which leads to what is called nibbāna and asaṅkhata.

Thus, by completely understanding dependent arising and conditionedness, the mind becomes dispassionate and does not grasp nor cling to anything conditioned. Consciousness naturally becoming calm and resting through dispassion, ceases from further movements of mind and mental activity.
By completely understanding the meaning of "conditioned", one finally comes to direct experience of what is called "unconditioned" (& "nirvana").3
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📷Active NowStian Gudmundsen Høiland📷 In short, and about the thought "I am":

When you contemplate dependent arising & ceasing of seeing (or "eye-contact"), you are unwittingly replacing the assumption of an agent of seeing.

Somewhere in your psyche there is a belief-ing that seeing is an act performed by an agent.

When you consider that this visual awareness right here depends on eye & form and that with this eye & form there is this visual awareness and that without this eye there would be no visual awareness and that without this form there would be no visual awareness, then "I am" with regards to seeing stops for as long as you remain in that understanding; there is then no "I am seeing", there is only seeing, no "I am" doing the seeing.

> ... When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two.

> When a noble disciple has clearly seen with right wisdom this dependent origination and these dependently originated phenomena as they are, it’s impossible for them to turn back to the past, thinking: ‘Did I exist in the past? Did I not exist in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? After being what, what did I become in the past?’ Or to turn forward to the future, thinking: ‘Will I exist in the future? Will I not exist in the future? What will I be in the future? How will I be in the future? After being what, what will I become in the future?’ Or to be undecided about the present, thinking: ‘Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? This sentient being—where did it come from? And where will it go?’4
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📷Active NowStian Gudmundsen Høiland📷 Now try it again. Slowly this time.
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📷Active NowStian Gudmundsen Høiland📷 Did anyone at least get to the point where it clicks that without eye or without form visual awareness co-ceases (i.e. impermanence)?

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sorry wrong link, this one

i'll have more to write later but i gtg for lunch

xabir Snoovatar

moving forward, after becoming clear about anatta and dependent origination of the ayatanas, which are taught clearly in the early teachings or pali canon or theravada, one can furthermore penetrate twofold emptiness, from emptiness of self to emptiness of all phenomena. at this point it is as said here (recommended reading!):

About this Nagarjuna states: "Through this the eyes, visible forms and so forth, which are described as the elements, these should be known also as [the twelve] sense-fields, and as the objects and the subjects as well.

Neither atom of form exists nor is sense organ elsewhere; even more no sense organ as agent exists; so the producer and the produced are utterly unsuited for production." - Nagarjuna

"In terms of objects and subjects, whatever appears to the consciousness, apart from the cognitions themselves, no external objects exist anywhere.

So there are no external objects at all existing in the mode of entities. The very perceptions of the individual consciousnesses arise as appearances of the forms." - Nagarjuna

also the heart sutra is describing that as well

twofold emptiness is stressed in mahayana teachings (of which vajrayana is a form of, as well as zen, etc)

xabir Snoovatar

On this twofold emptiness:

“[7:20 PM, 3/15/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Seems like he [Dieter] is clear about anatta now
[7:21 PM, 3/15/2020] John Tan: Yes seems so. When you have that insight, it has to be an experiential insight...such insight cannot be theoretical as experiences turned foreground… in this breakthrough. Awareness disappears as a mental construct into the vividness of sounds, colors, smells, thoughts...etc. Still one needs to look deeply into MMK (Soh: The Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (Sanskrit) or Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way, is a foundational text of the Madhyamaka school of Mahayana philosophy, composed by Nagarjuna in approximately the second-third century CE.) to see how to deconstruct mental constructs and conventions of cause, effect, arising, existence, non-existence… etc, in order to understand these ongoing vivid appearances free from the conventional extremes… not just non-conceptuality.”

“Phase 4 and 5 are the grayscale of seeing through the subject that it does not exist in actuality (anatta), there are only the aggregates. However even the aggregates are empty (Heart Sutra). It may sound obvious but more often than not, even a practitioner who has matured the anatta experience (as in phase 5) will miss the essence of it.” - John Tan, 2009, Stage 6 in Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment

“6/1/2012 8:17 AM: John: You know what is the difference between phase 5 and 6 insights?

6/1/2012 8:23 AM: John: Does stage 5 understand what that is being said in the YouTube of the water and h2o? (h2o: )
6/1/2012 8:27 AM: John: About the essence of emptiness and DO [dependent originatio]. Phase 5 do not have this insight. That is what you fail to clearly understand and tell me. Be clear and understand the difference before going further.”

“5/21/2012 11:47 AM: John: Imo View is very important. I wrote a poem about uncontrivance last time. Without view it is not easy to penetrate the depth of uncontrivance through experience alone
5/21/2012 11:48 AM: John: The insight of anatta tells you how to get into direct and immediate recognition of effortless non-dual is an example
5/21/2012 11:53 AM: John: You have to undergo the phases of insights to know the importance
5/21/2012 11:54 AM: John: Through direct realization and experience alone is difficult even to have the insight of anatta, much less 2 fold emptiness
5/21/2012 11:57 AM: John: There are the very diligent students who practice faithfully according to anatta but is unable to penetrate the essence of emptiness. Means they realized and directly experienced anatta, in seeing just the seen and no-self anatta is clear. Just aggregates and no-self/Self
5/21/2012 12:01 PM: John: But they are unable to realize the truth that self is a label propelled by the tendencies of wrong view so they are unable to see the same "emptiness" view of self is also applied to whatever arises. These group of practitioners penetrate anatta and skewed towards experience but fail to strike a balance before the breadth and depth of the view is realized. Therefore what I want is to let you discover the difference so that you have better understanding of the view, experience and realization. You have to go through the phases and not rely on me too much but pointing is important. Means you can have direct experience of in seeing just the seen and clearly see the Essence of the 2 stanza yet not understand that self is a mere convention and convenient label. You will simply hold on to that experience and realization like the Theravada and get stuck there.”

“5/21/2012 3:13 PM: John: Realizing that self is simply a convenient label and applies to all phenomena is different from clearly seeing there is no one behind aggregates. This also means that you didn’t really undergo a period of desync between view and experience and therefore cannot clearly understand the importance and implications. Means you are fortunate enough to have direct experience with the help of the view. But you have not gone through the process of dropping all views and concepts in an early stage of practice to know its harm.”

“The nonexistence of the personal self was taught for the sake of the Shravakas and Pratyeka-buddhas. By contrast, the nonexistence of both the phenomenal and the personal self was set forth to enable Bodhisattvas to attain the wisdom of omniscience. It is true that the Shravakas and the Pratyekabuddhas understand dependent arising, the mere conditionedness of phenomena, but they do not meditate on the complete nonexistence of the phenomenal self. They concentrate instead on the complete nonexistence of the personal self as a means to eliminate the emotional afflictions experienced in the three worlds of samsara.” - Chandrakirti, quoted from the book Introduction to the Middle Way: Chandrakirti’s Madhyamakavatara with Commentary by Jamgon Mipham

“The catch, is that we aren’t. The aggregates are an upāya, a means to comprehend our condition, but they are only a stepping stone, not an ultimate truth.
Nāgārjuna states:
Just as the Buddhas have spoken of "I" and "mine" for a practical purpose; Likewise they spoke too of "aggregates," "elements" and "sense-fields" for practical reasons.

- Kyle Dixon”

xabir Snoovatar

14/4/13 7:15:32 PM: John Tan: When buddha tell us there is sound and sound consciousness, it is only provisional
14/4/13 7:16:15 PM: John Tan: It is to point to the empty nature of consciousness so that we do not grasp
14/4/13 7:16:49 PM: John Tan: If we take it literally u would hv fallen to the mistake of true existence of sound
14/4/13 7:17:05 PM: John Tan: Is there sound as an object?

xabir Snoovatar

"Where does sound go? Is there a "going, coming", is there a "here and there" if sound, is there a voidness where sound return to? Then what does it mean by "no going anywhere" and seeing DO. Then we begin to understand the view of activities and actions and when we see everywhere the seamless integration and total exertions, then maha experience will become more and more obvious and effortless. At this phase there is no self, no dual... All these are already implied...

There are the content of emptiness

You should look at few aspects

1. Seeing inherent object as a mere convention collating ... If a practitioner keeps penetrating whatever arises this way, experience will turn groundless and illusion -like

2. Seeing clearly in non dual mode but deep in us realize that this is merely a dependent originated manifestation, nothing ultimate and solidly real

3. You see "no going, no coming, no here, no there" and penetrate deeply into the seamless interpenetration of activities leading to the maha experience

Until this empty nature of whatever arises is intuited in our moment to moment of experience, you can then feel the total exertion and self liberating aspect of experience”

xabir Snoovatar

John TanFriday, December 20, 2013 at 12:10am UTC+08

ur explanation about anatta is very narrow and limited. u must be able to see the link and understand as a whole process. ur emphasis is simply always about in the seen, just the seen...about no behind background. that is simply experience. You do not see the DO [dependent origination]. You do not see it is empty because every label when seen through is a formation of DO, being a convention, it is empty
Soh Wei YuFriday, December 20, 2013 at 12:13am UTC+08

ear organ is also an imputed convention based on auditory-consciousness/experience of sound isnt it
John TanFriday, December 20, 2013 at 12:13am UTC+08

ear-organ...what is ear-organ? what is eye-organ? how does modern science understand eye-organ
Soh Wei YuFriday, December 20, 2013 at 12:14am UTC+08

forgot :P light enters retina, gets reflected etc.. haha
John TanFriday, December 20, 2013 at 12:14am UTC+08

Soh Wei YuFriday, December 20, 2013 at 12:15am UTC+08

in direct experience eye is just bodily movement and vision movement
John TanFriday, December 20, 2013 at 12:15am UTC+08

so isn't eye-organ like the word "weather"
John TanFriday, December 20, 2013 at 12:15am UTC+08

don't talk about direct experience. i already told u, u skewed towards experience. many can have that experience but still have inherent view in a state of no-mind. but when u have the experience and with right view, u do not have an I, mine...and gradually free from those. in DO [dependent origination], how can there be an I and what exactly can be said to be "mine" or ownership or doership. in DO [dependent origination], u see formation. in seeing, just the seer..., did u see DO?

xabir Snoovatar

sorry i know its a lot to absorb lol but do go through this when you have time as it's well written, something from kyle dixon: 

Soh: Btw one more thing i wanted to share: “What is presence now? Everything... Taste saliva, smell, think, what is that? Snap of a finger, sing. All ordinary activity, zero effort therefore nothing attained. Yet is full accomplishment. In esoteric terms, eat God, taste God, see God, hear That is the first thing I told Mr. J few years back when he first messaged me 😂 If a mirror is there, this is not possible. If clarity isn't empty, this isn't possible. Not even slightest effort is needed. Do you feel it? Grabbing of my legs as if I am grabbing presence! Do you have this experience already? When there is no mirror, then entire existence is just lights-sounds-sensations as single presence. Presence is grabbing presence. The movement to grab legs is Presence.. the sensation of grabbing legs is Presence.. For me even typing or blinking my eyes. For fear that it is misunderstood, don't talk about it. Right understanding is no presence, for every single sense of knowingness is different. Otherwise Mr. J will say nonsense... lol. When there is a mirror, this is not possible. Think I wrote to longchen (Sim Pern Chong) about 10 years ago.” - John Tan “It is such a blessing after 15 years of "I Am" to come to this point . Beware that the habitual tendencies will try its very best to take back what it has lost. Get use to doing nothing. Eat God, taste God, see God and touch God. Congrats.” – John Tan to Sim Pern Chong after his initial breakthrough from I AM to no-self in 2006, “An interesting comment Mr. J. After realization… Just eat God, breathe God, smell God and see God… Lastly be fully unestablished and liberate God.” - John Tan, 2012 (Soh: Lest readers misinterpret that John is affirming a substantialist notion of a ‘God’, it should be noted that by the phase of Anatta realization, there is simply no more reifications or conceivings of a metaphysical ‘God’ or ‘Creator’ of any kind, and John was simply using the lingo of Mr. J to convey the complete absence of a background substratum of Presence and the total luminosity of Presencing-as-manifestation to Mr. J using Mr. J’s ‘esoteric lingo’. Even the word ‘Presence’ is not referring to some static entity here - ‘Presencing’ is perhaps a better term, for as James M. Corrigan wrote, “...Awareness is not something other than the “presencing” (i.e. naturing) of appearances. It is not a thing. It is not part of a thing. It is not an “aspect” of a process… is the process—not some aspect of it” [11:59 PM, 6/16/2020] John Tan: (On the See god, eat god… post) Don't underestimate this. An insight as important as anatta post the insight. Focus on this part. It is very important, if you can Intuit the insight that lead to this, the rest is not important. There are many intellectual obscurations and at times the mind is being block and just can't release itself. Same insight but just can't apply it on different situation relating to different mental proliferation. The Freedom and release from such an insight is not freedom from conceptuality but a freedom from seeing distinction thereby leading to a direct authentication. Because it is such an important insight, I will write something for you maybe later. Focus on it diligently. [10:06 am, 12/09/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Wrote yesterday: Its all god All divine Appearances are divine All is the one life one intelligence one clarity flow Eat god taste god see god smell god sleep god Liberate god - for god has no face of its own, only infinite faces Everything - what a wonder, what a miracle The ordinary are all miraculous activities and spiritual powers Presence is infinite potentiality Empty and hence infinite potentiality is possible [10:06 am, 12/09/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Its like more brahman than brahman but its nature is empty [10:42 am, 12/09/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Also all is spontaneously perfect. Its luminosity and emptiness. Absolutely no effort towards achieving something required.. its rather a release of ignorance, conditionings and fixations [10:45 am, 12/09/2021] John Tan: U wrote? [10:54 am, 12/09/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah [10:57 am, 12/09/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Its effect is like everything dissolved into spontaneity and presence.. spontaneous presencing [11:01 am, 12/09/2021] John Tan: Yes [11:01 am, 12/09/2021] John Tan: Outside, talk later [2:01 pm, 12/09/2021] John Tan: Should not say everything is dissolved into spontaneity and presence also. Spontaneity and non-dual presence is simply one's natural condition. The conceptual and conventional are based on a paradigm of entities and characteristics resulting experiences appearing as dualistic and inherent. When u go through the 2 stanzas, first stanza of non-doership is spontaneity and second stanza of luminosity is presence. Why does seeing through a background construct, entities and characteristics result in insubstantial non-dual. If u r clear, then there is no arguments of empty of self nature and freedom from all elaborations. But the mind trying to integrate the two conceptually will face some challenges. The key actually rest in anatta insight. If there is no background, one is left with the transient and exploring the nature of the transience. Groundlessness has to lead one this this insight, once this is clear, there will be no contradiction. [3:01 pm, 12/09/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah its clear spontaneous presence/spontaneous perfection is what is always already the case and has nothing to do with stages or achievement, buddha vs sentient being etc. Only adventitiously obscured There is a feeling of divinity, of being the one intelligence, god, mind, life, awareness etc but not as a background but purely as all ongoing appearances. If there is a feeling of eternity it is not of an unchanging background but of infinite interpenetration of time and space and as if past present future are inseparable from this moment [3:04 pm, 12/09/2021] Soh Wei Yu: If no background and no entity is not clear, this feeling of all pervading divinity easily gets reified into either a universal mind or solipsist thinking [3:05 pm, 12/09/2021] Soh Wei Yu: Which is all forms of inherency thinking [3:13 pm, 12/09/2021] John Tan: This is good. Read what I wrote to u when jack left. ( )

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