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Buddhahood: The End of All Emotional/Mental Afflictions and Knowledge Obscurations

First off: Please don't take this post as any kind of confrontation or repudiation or confirmation of other people's posts. It has nothing to do with other posts. This post is solely for sharing the AtR's understanding of what Buddhahood entails (correction: this is not just 'AtR's understanding' but what the Buddha actually taught), for the purpose of helping AtR readers in their own practice and understanding only. Because I noticed some people here, newcomers or otherwise, are still not very clear what AtR is aiming for.

Please enjoy reading.

Before anyone can hope to overcome emotional and mental afflictions or knowledge obscurations, they must have given rise to all the insights in Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment , but this is not the end, they must cultivate meditative equipoise and samadhi conjoined with insight and then tune them up ever more until all traces of mental afflictions/kleshas/defilements are burned off in the light of prajna forever. See Buddha's teachings on this in https://becoming-buddha.com/yuganaddha-sutta-tranquility.../

Additionally, one must overcome the knowledge or cognitive obscurations that prevent omniscience or Buddhahood. The wisdom of twofold emptiness must be refined and deepened to the degree that all traces of reifying phenomena, not only in terms of ‘subject’, ‘object’ and ‘action’, but also in terms of arising, abiding and ceasing, in terms of cause and effect, characteristics of phenomena, internality and externality, existence and non-existence of phenomena, and so on. Knowledge obscuration is overcome by the wisdom of the emptiness of all phenomena.

The realization of twofold emptiness marks the entry into the path of seeing, the first bhumi stage of Bodhisattva path, but it is not the end -- Buddhahood, also known as the 11th, or 13th, or 16th bhumi depending on the map. It is said that Arahants and 8th Bhumi bodhisattvas have overcome all traces of emotional afflictions, while a Buddha has additionally overcome all traces of knowledge obscuration. The goal of AtR people here is generally Buddhahood (maybe some may opt for Arahantship depending on the tradition they practice - anyone is entitled to their own choice or preference for the spiritual path they undertake)

Soh Wei Yu
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Yin Ling Yes. I like Daniel Ingram's sharing of dharma and he clearly has insight into anatta. But I do not agree that his description of the 4 paths line up with sutta version as explained in https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/igored/insight_buddhism_a_reconsideration_of_the_meaning/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf%20
According to suttas and sutras, an arahant is free from the slightest trace of the following afflictions, and also the 8th bhumi bodhisattva is likewise free from the famous ten fetters, and the following afflictions:
appropriation (of any phenomena in terms of I-me-mine)/clinging/grasping/attachment (Upādāna), possessiveness, anxiety, fear (an arahant can fall from a 10 floor building and experience 0 fear, see: https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php... ), sorrow (see: http://www.suttas.com/dhammapada-chapter-7-verse-90--99... and so on), anger, jealousy, desire (for: sensual pleasures, for form realm jhanic phenomena, for formless realm jhanic phenomena, for being, for non-being), depression, greed (lobha), hate (dosa), delusion (moha), conceit (māna), wrong views (micchāditthi), doubt (vicikicchā), torpor (thīnaṃ), restlessness (uddhaccaṃ), shamelessness (ahirikaṃ), recklessness (anottappaṃ)[7], all forms of I/me/mine-making.
This means if these afflictions arise even for 0.1 second, that by definition mean you cannot be an arahant in accordance to the sutta/sutras/scriptures/Buddha's words, or an 8th bhumi bodhisattva.
It should also be noted that you can be far away from 8th bhumi or arahant and yet most of those afflictions have vanished, or there are only faint traces of these, or maybe they arise even for 0.1 second in a year and then vanish, but by definition if they arise even a little bit or for a little while, it means you have not attained arahantship or 8th bhumi. If any of the above afflictions arise "for a moment but they self-liberate", then by definition you are not yet an arahant, or an 8th bhumi bodhisattva.
Also some of those afflictions listed above totally vanish even at stream entry: wrong views and doubt. Some of them disappear completely at anagami, such as sensual desire (kāmacchando) and ill will. Some of them disappear completely at arahantship, such as conceit (māna)[11][12], restlessness (uddhacca)[13], ignorance (avijjā)[14]. I would also say it is super unlikely for some of those afflictive states above, such as depression, to arise even for someone at stream entry, although I will not make universal claims on its possibility.
Also, I remember clearly Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith said that all teachings in Buddhism, Dzogchen included, holds Enlightenment [full enlightenment] to be the complete elimination of the twin obscurations of afflictive and knowledge obscurations. John Tan and I totally agree with this, and also this is indeed consistent throughout Buddhism.
Likewise even in Mahamudra, which I like very much, it is also stated as such, the first paragraph describing the Yoga of Non-Meditation states:
"Once the two obscurations, the afflictive and the cognitive, have become fundamentally purified, this is the most excellent elimination. No longer able to say, “This is formal meditation time and this is post meditation time,” one has become the all-encompassing purity of the spontaneously perfect three kayas, and thus this constitutes the most excellent realization.
Khamtrul Rinpoche III. The Royal Seal of Mahamudra: Volume One: A Guidebook for the Realization of Coemergence: 1 (p. 287). Shambhala. Kindle Edition."
-- A must read Mahamudra book.
It should be noted that if all of those afflictions do not arise in your experience for 99.9% of your daily life experience or even 99.99999% of your daily living experience, but they arise for 0.000001% of your daily life experience, that means you have definitely Not attained arahantship because the latent tendencies, the traces are still there. They just haven't activated most of the time because 1) the secondary conditions [situations] have not manifested to activate those traces, and 2) possibly due to your practice and insight, those traces and afflictions have become attenuated, so they don't arise so uncontrollably. But they are not completely gone yet.
Whereas, the arahants, according to Buddha, have eliminated those traces of afflictions, according to the sutta here:
And I will quote Buddha directly, partial excerpts:
The Arahant
“This monk is called one who has removed the crossbar, has filled the moat, has broken the pillar, has unbolted (his mind); a Noble One who has taken down the flag, put down the burden, become unfettered.
“And how, monks, is that monk one who has removed the cross-bar? Herein the monk has abandoned ignorance, has cut it off at the root, removed it from its soil like a palmyra tree, brought it to utter extinction, incapable of arising again. Thus has he removed the cross-bar.
“And how, monks, is that monk one who has filled the moat? Herein the monk has abandoned the round of rebirths, leading to renewed existence; he has cut it off at the root, removed it from its soil like a palmyra tree, brought it to utter extinction, incapable of arising again.
“And how has he broken the pillar? He has abandoned craving, has cut it off at the root, removed it from its soil like a palmyra tree, brought it to utter extinction, incapable of arising again.
...
....
“But, Mālunkyāputta, in what way do you remember the five lower fetters as taught by me?”
“Venerable sir, I remember identity view as a lower fetter taught by the Blessed One. I remember doubt as a lower fetter taught by the Blessed One. I remember adherence to rules and observances as a lower fetter taught by the Blessed One. I remember sensual desire as a lower fetter taught by the Blessed One. I remember ill will as a lower fetter taught by the Blessed One. It is in this way, venerable sir, that I remember the five lower fetters as taught by the Blessed One.”
“Mālunkyāputta, to whom do you remember my having taught these five lower fetters in that way? Would not the wanderers of other sects confute you with the simile of the infant? For a young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘identity,’ so how could identity view arise in him? Yet the underlying tendency to identity view lies within him. A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘teachings,’ so how could doubt about the teachings arise in him? Yet the underlying tendency to doubt lies within him. A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘rules,’ so how could adherence to rules and observances arise in him? Yet the underlying tendency to adhere to rules and observances lies within him. A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘sensual pleasures,’ so how could sensual desire arise in him? Yet the underlying tendency to sensual lust lies within him. A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘beings,’ so how could ill will towards beings arise in him? Yet the underlying tendency to ill will lies within him. Would not the wanderers of other sects confute you with this simile of the infant?”
....
“There is a path, Ānanda, a way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters; that someone, by relying on that path, on that way, shall know and see and abandon the five lower fetters—this is possible. Just as, when there is a great tree standing possessed of heartwood, it is possible that someone shall cut out its heartwood by cutting through its bark and sapwood, so too, there is a path…this is possible.
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    *https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php...
    Two obscurations (Tib. སྒྲིབ་པ་གཉིས་, dribpa nyi; Wyl. sgrib pa gnyis) — emotional and cognitive obscurations.
    ● Emotional obscurations are defined according to their essence, cause and function.
    In essence, they are the opposite of the six paramitas, as described in the Gyü Lama:
    "Thoughts such as avarice and so on,
    These are the emotional obscurations."
    Their cause is grasping at a personal ego, or the “self of the individual”.
    They function to prevent liberation from samsara.
    ● Cognitive obscurations are also defined according to their essence, cause and function.
    In essence, they are thoughts that involve the three conceptual ‘spheres’ of subject, object and action. The Gyü Lama says:
    "Thoughts that involve the three spheres,
    These are the cognitive obscurations."
    Their cause is grasping at phenomena as truly existent, or, in other words, the “self of phenomena”.
    Their function is to prevent complete enlightenment.”

    Chappell Isom
Soh Wei Yu How can one have the fetter of conceit while also having anatta realization?
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  • Chappell Isom See http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/.../early-buddhism...

    Excerpt:

    Regarding conceit, well, I've already spoken a little about it recently so I'll just cut and paste it here:

    Many people translate the fetter of conceit as 'pride', however, the fetter of conceit is not just in the sense of being 'proud'. I mean, pride etc is definitely a fetter. But also some people can be very humble, yet it does not mean they have overcome their 'I Am conceit'.

    The 'I Am conceit' is more specifically described as a kind of trace, like a stench left over in a jug when the contents of the jug has been poured away. That trace of self remains after realization of anatta and then one has to liberate even that trace itself. That liberation of trace is Arahantship. This is clearly described in the Khemaka Sutta.

    The Buddha said: Blissful is passionlessness in the world, The overcoming of sensual desires (i.e. anagami); But the abolition of the conceit "I am" (i.e. arahantship) — That is truly the supreme bliss.

    Also, the Buddha said:

    “The noble ones have seen as happiness

    The ceasing of identity.

    This [view] of those who clearly see

    Runs counter to the entire world.



    “What others speak of as happiness,

    That the noble ones say is suffering;

    What others speak of as suffering,

    That the noble one know as bliss.”


    So what is the difference between the 'view of self' and the 'trace of self'?

    As Thusness wrote to me in 2011:

    Session Start: 29 March 2011

    Thusness: yeah of course
    AEN: Ic
    Thusness: if u do not feel the 'body construct' and 'mind construct', just the play of dharma, how does the sense of self arise?
    AEN: It doesnt
    Thusness: yeah...
    Thusness: for me, it is just this dependent originated activity...
    Thusness: primordially pure and luminous
    Thusness: sense of self does not arise
    Thusness: i do not see 'body' or 'mind'
    Thusness: for there is no agent
    Thusness: for u by now u should be clear on this
    Thusness: experientially
    Thusness: otherwise, u will not feel the 'process'
    AEN: Ic..
    Thusness: u told me about the mini maha experience
    Thusness: so u should not feel the sense of self
    AEN: Yea
    Thusness: logically when the agent is gone, the primary cause for these sense of self should also be gone
    Thusness: however due to the deeper dispositions, it continues to linger
    Thusness: when u engage in this modern world, it re-enfore the identity
    Thusness: so by seeing there is no-self in anatta, the sense of self should also dwindle
    AEN: Ic
    Thusness: when u practice and there is mind body drop
    Thusness: due to de-construction of body and mind
    Thusness: there is only purity of sensations
    Thusness: it is just a lingering trace
    Thusness: how does the sense of self arise?
    Thusness: and that means it is simply a dispositions
    Thusness: and during daily activity, there is re-enforcing of this trace
    Thusness: when there is no agent, this trace will be seen as it is
    Thusness: in non-dual and one mind, this is not just a trace
    Thusness: u may have trace of identity
    Thusness: but 'Self' (comments: self-view; that a truly existing self/Self exists) is not a trace
    Thusness: it is as if it is truly 'there' and all there is
    Thusness: but anatta is different
    Thusness: for everything is like a trace
    Thusness: and self is not any more special that an arising sound
    Thusness: no diff
    Thusness: can u understand the difference?
"There is the self that arises from conceptual reification, seeing through that with anatta insight is entry point.

There is the self that arises in marketplace, in day to day activities, anatta of that is graduation." - John Tan, 2018

Also:

"PATHS TO ENLIGHTENMENT

What follows is a short explanation of the way Mipam presents the structure of the Buddhist path to awakening. According to him, we can only go so far in the Lesser Vehicle, realizing the lack of a personal self based on its path, but without the Great Vehicle, we will not come to fully realize the lack of self (that is, emptiness) with respect to all phenomena. In other words, those in the Lesser Vehicle realize only part of emptiness (the lack of a personal self) but do not realize the entire scope of emptiness. They hang on to an ultimate foundation of reality (the fundamental elements of reality, or dharmas), whereas there is actually no such foundation. Therefore, according to Mipam, one cannot become a buddha based solely on the Lesser Vehicle path; becoming a buddha is the result of the Great Vehicle. Nevertheless, realizing the lack of a personal self is enough to free us from samsara, because in doing so, we relinquish the obscurations of the afflictive emotions. The afflictive emotions can be included within the “three poisons” of attachment, aversion, and delusion.

These afflictive obscurations function to prevent liberation, and they are tied in with the apprehension of a personal self. Based on the notion of such a self, we become attached (to me and mine) and averse (to what is other). This notion of self keeps the wheel of samsara rolling, because it perpetuates the distorted framework through which we selfishly act out attachment and aversion, thus sowing the seeds of suffering. Afflictive obscurations have two aspects: a gross, imputed aspect and a more subtle, innate aspect. According to Mipam, the imputed aspects are relinquished on the first “ground” (Tib. sa, Skt. bhūmi) when you directly perceive the suchness of reality. This experiential realization is called “the path of seeing.”

The imputed aspects of the afflictive obscurations are learned and not inborn like the innate aspects. Imputed aspects involve distortions that are explicitly conceptual, as opposed to the perceptual distortions that comprise the innate aspects. The difference between the imputed and innate aspects can be understood as something like the difference between software and hardware: the innate aspects are embedded more deeply in one’s mind-stream and are thus more difficult to eliminate. Imputed ego-clinging refers to imputing qualities to the self that are not there—namely, apprehending the self as a singular, permanent, and independent entity. This is overcome on the first bodhisattva ground in a direct, nonconceptual experience of reality that is the culminating insight of analysis. Nevertheless, the more subtle, innate aspect of ego-clinging hangs on.

The innate ego-clinging, as the bare sense of self that is imputed on the basis of the five aggregates, is more difficult to remove. Rather than construing qualities to the self such as singularity or permanence, it is a more subtle feeling of simply “I am” when, for instance, we wake up in the morning. This innate sense of self is a deeply rooted, instinctual habit. It thus involves more than just imputed identity; it is a deeper experiential orientation of distorted subjectivity. Although analysis into the nature of the self paves the way for it to be overcome, it cannot fall away by analysis alone. Rather, it has to be relinquished through cultivating the path of meditation. According to Mipam, there are no innate aspects of the afflictive obscurations left on the eighth ground. However, the afflictive emotions are only one of two types of obscurations, the other being cognitive obscurations.

Cognitive obscurations are nothing less than conceptuality: the threefold conceptualization of agent, object, and action. Conceptuality is tied in to apprehending a self of phenomena, which includes mistaking phenomena as real, objectifying phenomena, and simply perceiving dualistically. Such conceptualization serves to obstruct omniscience. Based on the Great Vehicle, these cognitive obscurations can be completely relinquished; thereby, the result of the Great Vehicle path culminates in not merely escaping samsara, as in the Lesser Vehicle, but in becoming an omniscient buddha. According to Mipam, up to the seventh ground, the realization (of the twofold selflessness) and abandonment (of the twofold obscurations) are the same in the Great and Lesser Vehicles.

As with the Great Vehicle, he maintains that accomplishing the path of the Lesser Vehicle entails the realization of the selflessness of phenomena, to see that phenomena are empty. Those who accomplish the Lesser Vehicle path also realize the selflessness of phenomena, because their realization of emptiness with respect to a person is one instance of realizing the emptiness of phenomena. The final realization of the Lesser Vehicle path, however, is incomplete. Mipam compares it to taking a small gulp of the water of the ocean: we can say that those who realize emptiness in the Lesser Vehicle have drunk the water of the ocean, just not all of it.150 The final realization of the bodhisattva’s path in the Great Vehicle, however, is the full realization of emptiness, like drinking the entire ocean.

- Jamgon Mipam: His Life and Teachings"

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On how the above principles apply even in Vajrayana, Mahamudra and Dzogchen:

Dzogchen practitioner Kyle Dixon [student of Malcolm and admin in Zangthal Sangha's forum] wrote, "...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

“The conditions for this subtle identification are not undone until anatta is realized.

Anatta realization is like a massive release of prolonged tension, this is how John put it once at least. Like a tight fist, that has been tight for lifetimes, is suddenly relaxed. There is a great deal of power in the event. The nature of this realization is not often described in traditional settings, I have seen Traga Rinpoche discuss it. Jñāna is very bright and beautiful. That brightness is traditionally the “force” that “burns” the kleśas.

The reservoir of traces and karmic imprints is suddenly purged by this wonderful, violent brightness. After this occurs negative emotions are subdued and for the most part do not manifest anymore. Although this is contingent upon the length of time one maintains that equipoise.” - Kyle Dixon, 2019

“Prajñā “burns” karma, only when in awakened equipoise. Regular meditation does not.” - Kyle Dixon, 2021

“Only Buddhas rest in prajñā at all times, because they rest in “samati” which is an unfragmented samādhi which directly cognizes the nature of phenomena at all times.
The rest of us do our best to cultivate concentration, dhyāna, which then will lead to samādhi, and after time we will awaken to have the awakened equipoise which comes about due to our samādhi being infused with prajñā. However due to latent obscurations that awakened equipoise will be unstable and our prajñā will be fragmented. The more we access awakened equipoise however, the more karma in the form of kleśa and vāsanā will be burned away, and as a result, the more obscurations will be removed and diminished. The path is precisely eliminating those obscurations, the afflictive obscuration that conceives of a self and the cognitive obscuration that conceives of external objects. Buddhas have completely eliminated these two obscurations and as a result their samādhi is samati, a transcendent state of awakened equipoise beyond the three times.” – Kyle Dixon, 2021

....

“There are three traditional methods of dealing with emotions: abandoning them, transforming them, and recognizing their nature. All three levels of Buddhist teaching, all three yanas, describe how to deal with disturbing emotions. It is never taught, on any level, that one can be an enlightened buddha while remaining involved in disturbing emotions - never. Each level deals with emotions differently.



Just like darkness cannot remain when the sun rises, none of the disturbing emotions can endure within the recognition of mind nature. That is the moment of realizing original wakefulness, and it is the same for each of the five poisons.



In any of the five disturbing emotions, we do not have to transmute the emotion into empty cognizance. The nature of the emotion already is this indivisible empty cognizance.” - Vajra Speech, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

“Why would you accept afflictive emotions? They are afflictive and are the root cause of suffering.

Either you renounce them, transform them or self-liberate them. But you certainly don't accept them. That way just leads to further rebirth in samsara.

M” – Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith

“We do bad things, non-virtuous things, because we are afflicted. Afflictions are never a part of oneself but they do define us as sentient beings. If you want to stop being a sentient being and start being an awakening being you have to deal with your afflictions via one of three paths I mentioned.

Why am I a sentient being and not a Buddha? Because I am subject to afflictions. How do I become a Buddha? By overcoming afflictions and attaining omniscience. How do I begin? By setting out on one of the three paths, depending on my capacity.” – Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith

“Mr. JK said: What you're describing is the duality found in Christianity. saying we are impure and must better ourselves.

Kyle Dixon replied: Not at all, this is literally the teaching of Dzogchen, Śrī Siṃha one of the original Dzogchen masters, who was Padmasambhava’s guru, states:

This is acceptable since a so called “primordial buddhahood” is not asserted. Full awakening is not possible without being free of the five afflictions... It is not possible for wisdom to increase without giving up afflictions. Wisdom will not arise without purifying afflictions. (Bolded and emphasized by Soh)

Likewise, Khenpo Ngachung, one of the greatest luminaries of recent times states:

In any system of sutra or tantra, without gathering the accumulations and purifying obscurations, Buddhahood can never be attained. Though the system of gathering accumulations and purifying obscurations is different, in this respect [dzogchen] is the same.

Longchenpa states:

All phenomena of samsara depend on the mind, so when the essence (ngo bo) of mind is purified, samsara is purified... The essence of mind is an obscuration to be given up. The essence of vidyā is pristine consciousness (ye shes) to be attained... That being so, it is very important to differentiate mind and pristine consciousness because all meditation is just that: all methods of purifying vāyu and vidyā are that; and in the end at the time of liberation, vidyā is purified of all obscurations because it is purified of the mind.

Even Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche’s father, states:

Purification happens through training on the path. We have strayed from the basis and become sentient beings. To free the basis from what obscures it, we have to train. Right now, we are on the path and have not yet attained the result. When we are freed from obscuration, then the result - dharmakāya - appears... the qualities of the result are contained in the state of the basis; yet, they are not evident or manifest. That is the difference between the basis and the result. At the time of the path, if we do not apply effort, the result will not appear.
Thus there is still much for you to understand about how Dzogchen actually works. You are only speaking of the side of the nature, the state of Dzogchen, but the side of appearances, the side of the practitioner, is not pure and perfect just yet. The two sides meet when the practitioner recognizes that nature, which is not presently known, and trains in the method and view.
5” – Kyle Dixon, 2021, krodha (u/krodha) - Reddit

...

On how this principle also applies to Zen:
John Daido Loori, “The Art of Just Sitting: Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Shikantaza”:
“To be verified by all things is to let the body and mind of self, and body and mind of others, drop off.” Dropping off body and mind is a translation of shinjin datsuraku. This is one of the key words in Dogen Zenji’s teachings. Originally the expression used by Dogen’s teacher [Tendo] Nyojo (Tiantong Rujing). In the Hokyoki, Dogen Zenji recorded his conversations with Ju-ching while he was practicing at the T’ien-t’ung (Tiantong) Monastery. This expression, shinjin datsuraku, was one of the topics Dogen Zenji discussed with his teacher repeatedly.
Nyojo said, “Sanzen is dropping off body and mind. We don’t use incense burning, prostration, nembutsu, practice of repentance, reading sutras. We only just sit (shikantaza).”
Dogen asked, “What is dropping off mind and body?” Nyojo said, “Dropping off body and mind is zazen. When we practice zazen, we part from the five desires and five coverings.” Dogen asked, “if we part from the five desires and get rid of the five coverings, that is the same as the teaching taught in the teaching schools. Thus we are the same as the practitioners of Mahayana and Hinayana.”
Nyojo said, “The descendants of the Ancestor (Bodhidharma) should not dislike the teachings taught by Mahayana and Hinayana. If a practitioner is against the sacred teachings of the Tathagata, how can such a person be the descendant of the buddhas and ancestors?” Dogen asked, “In recent times, some skeptical people say that the three poisonous minds are themselves Buddha Dharma and the five desires are themselves the way of the ancestors. If we get rid of them, it is nothing other than like and dislike. Such a practice is the same as the Hinayana.”
Nyojo said, “If we don’t get rid of the three poisonous minds and the five desires, we are the same as the non-Buddhists in the country of the King Bimbisara and his son Ajatasattu (at the time of Shakyamuni Buddha). For the descendants of buddhas and ancestors, if we get rid of even one covering or one desire, that is the great benefit. That is the time we meet the buddhas and ancestors.”
Nyojo Zenji said that sanzen is dropping off body and mind and dropping off body and mind is zazen. He also said that dropping off body and mind is being free from the five desires and getting rid of the five coverings. The five desires are caused in our mind by contacting the objects of the five sense organs. When we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch some pleasurable objects, we enjoy them, we attach ourselves to them, and we want them more and more. Or if the objects are not pleasurable, we dislike them and try to keep away from them. But they often come toward us, so we hate them and become angry. Greed and anger are caused by the five desires.
The five coverings refer to hindrances that cover our mind and prevent it from functioning in a healthy way. Those are coverings of greed, anger or hatred, sleepiness or dullness, distraction, and doubt about the principle of causes and conditions. These five desires and five coverings are discussed originally in the Daichidoron (a commentary on Prajnaparamita Sutra by Nagarjuna) as obstacles in meditation practice. And Tendai Chigi, the great philosopher of the Chinese Tiantai (Tendai) School, mentioned them in the manual of meditation practice, teh Mahashikan (Larger Book of Shamatha and Vipashyana). Chigi said that a practitioner should part from the five desires and get rid of the five coverings in the meditation practice called shikan (shamatha and vipashyana). Dogen Zenji was originally ordained as a Tendai monk in Japan and was familiar with the teachings and meditation practice in the Tendai tradition. Dogen was not satisfied by Tendai practice and began to practice Zen. That was why Dogen asked Nyojo if he should part from the five desires and the five coverings. Until then, Dogen Zenji was looking for something that is different from the teachings he learned in the teaching school. But Nyojo said that our practice of zazen should not be different from the Buddha’s teachings recorded in the sutras and systematized in philosophical teaching schools. The next conversation on the same topic between Dogen and Nyojo was as follows.

Nyojo said, “The descendants of the buddhas and ancestors should first get rid of the five coverings and then the six coverings. Adding the covering of ignorance to the five coverings make six coverings. Even if a practitioner only gets rid of the covering of ignorance, that makes the practitioner free from the five coverings. Even if a practitioner gets rid of the five coverings, if ignorance is not gotten rid of, the practitioner has not yet reached the practice of the buddhas and ancestors.”
Dogen immediately made a prostration and expressed gratitude for the teaching. He put his hands in shashu position and said, “Until today, I have not heard of such an instruction as that which you have given me now, teacher. Elders, experienced teachers, monks and Dharma brothers here do not know at all. They have never spoken like this. Today, fortunately, specially I have received your great compassion and have heard what I have not heard before. This is fortunate for me, because of the Dharma connection from the previous lives. And yet, is there any secret method to get rid of the five or six coverings?”
The teachers smiled and said, “Where have you been putting your whole energy? That is practicing nothing other than the Dharma to part from the six coverings. The buddhas and ancestors have not set up any classification in practice. They directly point out and singularly transmit the way of departing from the five desires and six coverings and getting free from the five desires. Making effort in just sitting and dropping off body and mind is the method to depart from the five coverings and the five desires. Besides this, there is nothing at all. Absolutely, there is nothing else. How can it fall into two or three?”
This is Tendo Nyojo Zenji’s explanation of dropping off body and mind. Since Nyojo was the original person who used this expression we should understand it based on Nyojo’s teaching. To drop off body and mind is to be free from the six coverings, the three poisonous minds that are the causes of samsara. In just sitting zazen, we let go of the three poisonous minds. That is why Dogen Zenji said zazen is not a practice of human beings but the practice of buddhas.
Dogen and Nyojo talked about dropping off body and mind one more time in the Hokyoji, as follows:
Nyojo said:
The zazen of arhats and pratyekabuddhas does not have attachment and yet lacks great compassion. Therefore it is different from the zazen of buddhas and ancestors in which they put primary importance on great compassion and the vow to save all living beings. The non-Buddhist practitioners in India also practice zazen. And yet, non-Buddhists have three sicknesses. That is, attachment, mistaken views, and arrogance. Therefore, their zazen is different from buddhas’ and ancestors’ zazen. Shravakas also practice zazen, and yet their compassion is weak. They don’t penetrate the true reality of all beings with wisdom. They try to improve only themselves and cut off the seeds of Buddha. Therefore, their zazen is different from buddhas’ and ancestors’ zazen. In buddhas’ and ancestors’ zazen, they wish to gather all buddha-dharma from the time they first arouse bodhi-mind. Within zazen, they don’t forget living beings. They offer a compassionate heart even to an insect. They vow to save all living beings and they dedicate all merits to all living beings. Therefore, buddhas and ancestors practice zazen within the world of desire. Even within the world of desire, they have the best connection with this realm. They practice many virtues generation after generation and allow their mind to be flexible.
Dogen made a prostration and said, ‘What do you mean by allowing the mind to be flexible?’
Nyojo said, ‘Affirming buddhas’ and ancestors’ dropping off body and mind is the flexible mind. This is called the mind-seal of buddhas and ancestors.’ Dogen prostrated six more times.”
(Note: three poisonous minds: passion/greed, aggression/hatred, delusion
Five desires: the desire for food, the desire for sex, the desire for sleep, the desire for comfort and the desire for reputation)
“[Unwholesome] Conduct and [three] poisons are understood as part of ignorance.” - John Tan, 2019
“Dogen was commenting on those nihilistic [wrong] view that desires, ignorance and anger are ok, that all these (poisons) are marvelous manifestations of wisdom.” - John Tan, 2019
“I am only interested in the way to free from worries, fear, anger, greed and ignorance.” - John Tan, 2018

“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
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    As for my own self, I do not claim to be a Buddha or Arahant, but I can go so far as to state that the insights have a huge effect on liberating mental afflictions. Even so there is still a long way to go.
    What I wrote in the AtR preface is my everyday natural state without entry or exit:
    Why awakening is so worth it
    From time to time, people ask me why should they seek awakening. I say, awakening will be the best thing that happen in your life, I guarantee it. It is worth whatever effort you put into it. You won't regret it. Or as Daniel M. Ingram said, "Would I trade this for anything? Maybe world peace, but I would have to think about it. Until then, this totally rocks, and missing out on it would be barking crazy from my point of view."
    What is it like? I can only give a little preview, an excerpt of what I wrote taken from the AtR guide:
    "Personally, I can say from direct experience that direct realization is completely direct, immediate, and non-intellectual, it is the most direct and intimate taste of reality beyond the realm of imagination. It far exceeds one’s expectations and is far superior to anything the mind can ever imagine or dream of. It is utter freedom. Can you imagine living every moment in purity and perfection without effort, where grasping at identity does not take hold, where there is not a trace or sense of 'I' as a seer, feeler, thinker, doer, be-er/being, an agent, a 'self' entity residing inside the body somewhere relating to an outside world, and what shines forth and stands out in the absence of a 'self' is a very marvellous, wondrous, vivid, alive world that is full of intense vividness, joy, clarity, vitality, and an intelligence that is operating as every spontaneous action (there is no sense of being a doer), where any bodily actions, speech and thoughts are just as spontaneous as heart beating, fingernails growing, birds singing, air moving gently, breath flowing, sun shining - there is no distinction between ‘you are doing action’/’you are living’ and ‘action is being done to you’/’you are being lived’ (as there is simply no ‘you’ and ‘it’ - only total and boundless spontaneous presencing).
    This is a world where nothing can ever sully and touch that purity and perfection, where the whole of universe/whole of mind is always experienced vividly as that very purity and perfection devoid of any kind of sense of self or perceiver whatsoever that is experiencing the world at a distance from a vantagepoint -- life without ‘self’ is a living paradise free of afflictive/painful emotions, where every color, sound, smell, taste, touch and detail of the world stands out as the very boundless field of pristine awareness, sparkling brilliance/radiance, colorful, high-saturation, HD, luminous, heightened intensity and shining wonderment and magicality, where the surrounding sights, sounds, scents, sensations, smells, thoughts are seen and experienced so clearly down to the tiniest details, vividly and naturally, not just in one sense door but all six, where the world is a fairy-tale like wonderland, revealed anew every moment in its fullest depths as if you are a new-born baby experiencing life for the first time, afresh and never seen before, where life is abundant with peace, joy and fearlessness even amidst the apparent chaos and troubles of life, and everything experienced through all the senses far surpasses any beauty previously experienced, as if the universe is like heaven made of glittering gold and jewels, experienced in complete gapless directness without separation, where life and the universe is experienced in its intense lucidity, clarity, aliveness and vivifying presence not only without intermediary and separation but without center and boundaries - infinitude as vast as an endless night sky is actualized every moment, an infinitude that is simply the vast universe appearing as an empty, distanceless, dimensionless and powerful presencing, where the mountains and stars on the horizon stands out no more distant than one’s breath, and shines forth as intimately as one’s heartbeat, where the cosmic scale of infinitude is actualized even in ordinary activities as the entirety of the universe is always participating as every ordinary activity including walking and breathing and one’s very body (without a trace of an ‘I’ or ‘mine’) is as much the universe/dependent origination in action and there is nothing outside of this boundless exertion/universe, where the purity and infinitude of the marvellous world experienced through being cleansed in all doors of perception is constant. (If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is: Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern. - William Blake)
    You know all the Mahayana Sutras (e.g. Vimalakirti Sutra), old Zen talks about seeing this very earth as pure land and all the Vajrayana talks about the point of tantra as the pure vision of seeing this very world, body, speech and mind in its primordial unfabricated purity as the Buddha field, palace, mandala, mantra and deity? Now you truly get it, you realise everything is really just like that when experienced in its primordial purity and perfection, and that the old sages have not been exaggerating at all. It is as much a literal and precise description of the state of consciousness as it is a metaphor. As I told John Tan before, Amitabha Sutra’s description of pure land resembles my living experience here and now. “To me it just means anatta. When what’s seen, tasted, touched, smelled are in clean purity, everywhere is pure land.” - John Tan, 2019. "If one is free from background self, all manifestations appear in clean purity in taste. Impurities from what I know come from mental constructions." – John Tan, 2020
  • Soh Wei Yu
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    This is a freedom that is free from any artificially constructed boundaries and limitations. And yet, this boundlessness does not in any way lead to the dissociation from one’s body, instead one feels more alive than ever as one’s very body, one grows ever more somatic, at home and intimate as one’s body. This is not a body normally conceived of, as the boundaries of an artificially solidified body that stands separated from the universe, dissolve into energetic streams of aliveness dancing and pulsating throughout the body in high energy and pleasure, as well as sensations of foot steps, movement, palm touching an object, where the body is no longer conflated with a constructed boundary of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, ‘self’ or ‘other’, where no trace of an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’ can be found in one’s state of consciousness - there’s only one indivisible, boundless and measureless world/mind - only this infinitude of a dynamic and seamlessly interconnected dance that we call ‘the universe’. This is better than any passing peak experiences be they arisen spontaneously, in meditation or through the use of psychedelic substances. And yet, despite experiencing life to it fullest every moment without any veils, in complete openness and utter nakedness, nothing gains a foothold in consciousness, for as vivid as they are, they leave no trace just as a bird leaves no tracks in the sky, an empty and lucid display such as a gust of wind and the glittery reflections of moon on the ocean waves - appearing but nothing ‘there’ or anywhere. All these words and descriptions I just wrote came very easily and spontaneously in a very short time as I am simply describing my current state of experience that is experienced every moment. I am not being poetic here but simply being as direct and clear as possible about what is immediately experienced. And this is only a figment that I am describing. If I were to tell you more of what this is like, you would not believe it. But once you enter this gateless realm you shall see that words always pale in comparison."
    Labels: Anatta |
  • Yin LingAdmin
    Thanks for the effort!
    In usual ATR style, keeping the standards of the dhamma high and definition accurate.
  • Cheng Chen
    This is very good!
  • Marc Us
    And yet it’s a contradiction in itself to set non-duality as goal in a dual way, to set no-self as a goal to achieve for your-self, to set goals while all those goals are empty and there is nothing to achieve.
    To list this stages should be seen as guideline being aware that they can become a distraction especially discussing certain individuals being on certain stages. That’s for sure not how this guidelines should be used rather to classify your own level of realization but not to project this outwards to either increase your own ego or those that subordinate to those projections.
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    Yin LingAdmin
    Hmm imo actually they are not goals, they are actually a few conditions to bring on crucial insights so practitioner can see the moon eventually.
    Non duality is the condition to bring on anatta insight.
    Anatta is how things always is. It is wisdom, a dharma seal.
    Anatta then become the condition to understand emptiness. Emptiness is another crucial insight.
    It is laid out in stages to ease understanding.
    For a practitioner If they have all those insights already they will look back and understand why the “stages” unfold very well.
    It’s like learning ABC first; then phonetics, then words, then grammar, then sentence and then write an essay.
    A person who can already write assay can tell u how to write an essay by learning
    This
    Then this
    Then this
    But a person who is at ABC won’t know why the hell u want me to write all these squiggly alphabets .. at least for me at 5 years old.
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    Marc Us
    Yin Ling “the goal of ATR people here is generally Buddhahood” is literally mentioned in the text.
    Few days ago there was a post here in which several people claimed they have achieved Buddhahood and apparently felt the need to tell others about it.
    You can use the word stages or whatever you like, changes nothing about the essence I’m talking about which your answer is not really related to.
    If you can not feel that there is a certain kind of “danger” involved, that often those claiming such things, that classifying goals and people who reach them do this because of deluded egotistic reasons, that sometimes even whole Shangas are destroyed by this (I know a few personally) we don’t need to talk any further as we are anyway too far away from each other.
    And this not even related to the path and dualistic paradox that I tried to explain but only to very munade, secular problems in this context.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    I can understand your perspective, which comes from the more neo advaita perspective which advocates dropping the search and so on.
    The AtR group takes a different approach. We say, search until no searching, desire until the end of desire, but you must walk the right path and give rise to the right insights.
    And yes I do not like to use stages to discuss others, but it is important for the practitioner to discern for their own personal development. Not for gauging other people unnecessarily.
    We have to be careful about “nothing to achieve” and “are empty”. The path is empty but not non existent. Many people mistook emptiness as implying non existence, this is an incorrect understanding as explained in http://www.awakeningtoreality.com/.../how-experiential...
    And Longchenpa puts it very nicely:
    Longchenpa on Nihilism
    From Finding Rest in the Nature of Mind.
    Those who scorn the law of karmic cause and fruit
    Are students of the nihilist view outside the Dharma.
    They rely on the thought that all is void;
    They fall in the extreme of nothingness
    And go from higher to lower states.
    They have embarked on an evil path
    And from the evil destinies will have no freedom,
    Casting happy states of being far away.
    ”The law of karmic cause and fruit,
    Compassion and the gathering of merit -
    All this is but provisional teaching fit for children:
    Enlightenment will not be gained thereby.
    Great yogis should remain without intentional action.
    They should meditate upon reality that is like space.
    Such is the definitive instruction.”
    The view of those who speak like this
    Of all views is the most nihilist:
    They have embraced the lowest of all paths.
    How strange is this!
    They want a fruit but have annulled its cause.
    If reality is but a space-like void,
    What need is there to meditate?
    And if it is not so, then even if one meditates
    Such efforts are to no avail.
    If meditation on mere voidness leads to liberation,
    Even those with minds completely blank
    Attain enlightenment!
    But since those people have asserted meditation,
    Cause and its result they thus establish!
    Throw far away such faulty paths as these!
    The true, authentic path asserts
    The arising in dependence of both cause and fruit,
    The natural union of skillful means and wisdom.
    Through the causality of nonexistent but appearing acts,
    Through meditation on the nonexistent but appearing path,
    The fruit is gained, appearing and yet nonexistent;
    And for the sake of nonexistent but appearing beings,
    Enlightened acts, appearing and yet nonexistent, manifest.
    Such is pure causality’s profound interdependence.
    This is the essential pith
    Of all the Sutra texts whose meaning is definitive
    And indeed of all the tantras.
    Through the joining of the two accumulations,
    The generation and completion stages,
    Perfect buddhahood is swiftly gained.
    Thus all the causal processes
    Whereby samsara is contrived should be abandoned,
    And all acts that are the cause of liberation
    Should be earnestly performed.
    High position in samsara
    And the final excellence of buddhahood
    Will speedily be gained.
    - Finding Rest in the Nature of Mind (vol 1)
    --------------------
    Also by Longchenpa:
    "To reject practice by saying, ‘it is conceptual!’ is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided.”
    — Longchenpa
    How Experiential Realization Helps in Liberation
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
    How Experiential Realization Helps in Liberation
    How Experiential Realization Helps in Liberation
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    Marc Us
    Soh Wei Yu I think you can find the paradox within the words yourself 😉 which are just that, words and not reality.
    That’s exactly what it comes down to.
    Being to reach no more being.
    And still we are, although some might claim not to be, or trying to become anymore.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    In fact you raised a good point for discussion which I will post on a separate thread.
    On why searching is necessary to reach no more searching
    What the scriptures say about the role of desire for reaching nirvana, the end of desire
    Will post link in next comment
    Marc Us
    Soh Wei Yu for me (who is still a beginner and will always stay a beginner 😉) this is the essence of the part that lies behind knowledge, that can’t be realized by logic and thinking.
    See, practicing itself is already becoming, “self”-development, moving towards a goal/stage when in the end everything is empty and there is no goal it must ultimately also be delusion.
    Some Zen practionioners avoid the word zen for this reason, but what are they doing then, are they practicing at all if they can’t classify what they are doing and why?
    I just wanted to arise awareness of the very obvious “dangers’ classifications of stages can create. For some logical reasons maybe it can make sense to project outwardly that you’re on a specific stage/achieved something (for example to reach more people and pass you’re realisation to them) I however question this generally, as I seen the result, the delusional potential of this classifications too often and therefore rather go with Zen and try to classify as less as possible (especially not people).
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    Maps of genuine practitioners are not meant for egotistic purposes of judging people nor is it for projecting how high you are. They are meant to guide people on how to progress and how to avoid pitfalls. The map is also not the territory and eventually you forget all about them when realized and actualized, unless the need arise to guide others. I have no trace of any ideation or notion of where I am, what stage I am at, or whatever in my day to day experience, whether I am a sentient being or a Buddha or somewhere in between. There is only boundless Suchness.
    For example in Zen there are plenty of maps, not least of which the most famous ones are the five ranks of Tozan and the ten oxherding pictures.
    My Mahayana teacher who is a lineage holder of the rinzai zen (linji chan) lineage, my local dharma teacher li zhu lao shi (different from my mentor John Tan) who supports my effort in atr and encouraged me to continue “being their teacher” and teaching in atr (although I do not see myself as a teacher in any way), also accepts the ten bhumi stages and so do the whole lineage. It is pretty standard for traditional Zen teaching to accept stages.
    Also it will be wrong to think that Zen teaches no practice. This is a wrong and nihilistic view refuted by many Zen masters. Instead, the correct approach should be practice-enlightenment as taught by Zen Master Dogen. I will post something next.
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  • Marc Us
    Soh Wei Yu and anyway a lot people use them like this although they pretend not to.
    I just wanted to highlight certain things (which you basically repeated now) as I missed them in your initial text. Circling with thoughts or discussions around the dualistic paradox makes as less sense as discussing the stages of other practioners. Nobody ever said the listed stages should not be accepted it’s just about how to use this classifications.
    Zen teaches and doesn’t teach at the same time. We should as well accept that our words sometimes are not enough to explain things.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    Btw before i write further, the two zen maps i mentioned and worth reading:
    Tozan Ryokai's Verses on the Five Ranks
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
    Tozan Ryokai's Verses on the Five Ranks
    Tozan Ryokai's Verses on the Five Ranks
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    Excerpts from Original Enlightenment vs Practice-Enlightenment
    John Tan
    When Dogen was still a monk in Tendai School, he was puzzled and couldn't understand the teaching of "original enlightenment". If we were originally enlightened, how can we be lost? Unsatisfied he traveled to China in search for answers and when he returned back to Japan, he began promoting "practice-enlighthment". What did Dogen realize from this koan of "original enlightenment" into "practice-enlightenment"?
    Those that went for the ATR gathering don't answer ah🤣.
    2
    John tan:
    Indeed this is similar to anatta insight. When no self/Self is seen through, seen is just seen and heard is just heard. When original enlightenment is seen through, sitting is just sitting, walking is just walking, and sleeping is just sleeping -- practice enlightenment!
    2
    Soh Wei Yu
    My journal entry 25th February 2012
    I see Shikantaza (The Zen meditation method of “Just Sitting”) as the natural expression of realization and enlightenment.
    But many people completely misunderstand this... they think that practice-enlightenment means there is no need for realization, since practicing is enlightenment. In other words, even a beginner is as realized as the Buddha when meditating.
    This is plain wrong and thoughts of the foolish.
    Rather, understand that practice-enlightenment is the natural expression of realization... and without realization, one will not discover the essence of practice-enlightenment.
    As I told my friend/teacher 'Thusness', “I used to sit meditation with a goal and direction. Now, sitting itself is enlightenment. Sitting is just sitting. Sitting is just the activity of sitting, air con humming, breathing. Walking itself is enlightenment. Practice is not done for enlightenment but all activity is itself the perfect expression of enlightenment/buddha-nature. There is nowhere to go."
    I see no possibility of directly experiencing this unless one has clear direct non-dual insight. Without realizing the primordial purity and spontaneous perfection of this instantaneous moment of manifestation as Buddha-nature itself, there will always be effort and attempt at 'doing', at achieving something... whether it be mundane states of calmness, absorption, or supramundane states of awakening or liberation... all are just due to the ignorance of the true nature of this instantaneous moment.
    However, non-dual experience can still be separated into:
    1) One Mind
    - lately I have been noticing that majority of spiritual teachers and masters describe non-dual in terms of One Mind. That is, having realized that there is no subject-object/perceiver-perceived division or dichotomy, they subsume everything to be Mind only, mountains and rivers all are Me - the one undivided essence appearing as the many.
    Though non-separate, the view is still of an inherent metaphysical essence. Hence non-dual but inherent.
    2) No Mind
    Where even the 'One Naked Awareness' or 'One Mind' or a Source is totally forgotten and dissolved into simply scenery, sound, arising thoughts and passing scent. Only the flow of self-luminous transience.
    ....
    However, we must understand that even having the experience of No Mind is not yet the realization of Anatta. In the case of No Mind, it can remain a peak experience. In fact, it is a natural progression for a practitioner at One Mind to occasionally enter into the territory of No Mind... but because there is no breakthrough in terms of view via realization, the latent tendency to sink back into a Source, a One Mind is very strong and the experience of No Mind will not be sustained stably. The practitioner may then try his best to remain bare and non-conceptual and sustain the experience of No Mind through being naked in awareness, but no breakthrough can come unless a certain realization arises.
    In particular, the important realization to breakthrough this view of inherent self is the realization that Always Already, never was/is there a self - in seeing always only just the seen, the scenery, shapes and colours, never a seer! In hearing only the audible tones, no hearer! Just activities, no agent! A process of dependent origination itself rolls and knows... no self, agent, perceiver, controller therein.
    It is this realization that breaks down the view of 'seer-seeing-seen', or 'One Naked Awareness' permanently by realizing that there never was a 'One Awareness' - 'awareness', 'seeing', 'hearing' are only labels for the everchanging sensations and sights and sounds, like the word 'weather' don't point to an unchanging entity but the everchanging stream of rain, wind, clouds, forming and parting momentarily...
    Then as the investigation and insights deepen, it is seen and experienced that there is only this process of dependent origination, all the causes and conditions coming together in this instantaneous moment of activity, such that when eating the apple it is like the universe eating the apple, the universe typing this message, the universe hearing the sound... or the universe is the sound. Just that... is Shikantaza. In seeing only the seen, in sitting only the sitting, and the whole universe is sitting... and it couldn't be otherwise when there is no self, no meditator apart from meditation. Every moment cannot 'help' but be practice-enlightenment... it is not even the result of concentration or any form of contrived effort... rather it is the natural authentication of the realization, experience and view in real-time.
    Zen Master Dogen, the proponent of practice-enlightenment, is one of the rare and clear jewels of Zen Buddhism who have very deep experiential clarity about anatta and dependent origination. Without deep realization-experience of anatta and dependent origination in real time, we can never understand what Dogen is pointing to... his words may sound cryptic, mystical, or poetic, but actually they are simply pointing to this.
    Someone 'complained' that Shikantaza is just some temporary suppressing of defilements instead of the permanent removal of it. However if one realizes anatta then it is the permanent ending of self-view, i.e. traditional stream-entry.
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    John Tan
    Soh Wei Yu
    din know u wrote this. Means u did put in some effort🤣.
    4
    Original Enlightenment vs Practice-Enlightenment
    AWAKENINGTOREALITY.COM
    Original Enlightenment vs Practice-Enlightenment
    Original Enlightenment vs Practice-Enlightenment
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    Excerpt from Dogen here
    The way is originally perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent on practice and realization? The true vehicle is self-sufficient. What need is there for special effort? Indeed, the whole body is free from dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? It is never apart from this very place; what is the use of traveling around to practice? And yet, if there is a hairsbreadth deviation, it is like the gap between heaven and earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the mind is lost in confusion. Suppose you are confident in your understanding and rich in enlightenment, gaining the wisdom that knows at a glance, attaining the Way and clarifying the mind, arousing an aspiration to reach for the heavens. You are playing in the entranceway, but you are still short of the vital path of emancipation.
    Consider the Buddha: although he was wise at birth, the traces of his six years of upright sitting can yet be seen. As for Bodhidharma, although he had received the mind-seal, his nine years of facing a wall is celebrated still. If even the ancient sages were like this, how can we today dispense with wholehearted practice?
    Therefore, put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will manifest. If you want to realize such, get to work on such right now.
    (Continued in url)
    Fukan Zazengi (Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen) | SOTOZEN.COM
    SOTOZEN.COM
    Fukan Zazengi (Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen) | SOTOZEN.COM
    Fukan Zazengi (Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen) | SOTOZEN.COM
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  • Marc Us
    Soh Wei Yu thanks. Not enough time as always but will look into it later
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  • 4h
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