John Tan just wrote to someone who just had a breakthrough,

“It is not simply about freeing from elaborations and we r left with with "the world" also.  Nor is it simply about experiencing presence and non-dual, they aren't the main concern. 

Look at the scenery, so lurid and vivid; 

Is the "scenery" out there?

Feel the "hardness" of the floor; 

Is this undeniable "hardness" out there? 

If "hardness of the floor" aren't out there, are is "inside" the brain? There is no "hardness" in the brain u can locate in the parts that make up the experience of "hardness".  

It is not even in the "mind" for u can't even find "mind" then how can "in" the mind be valid? 

If "hardness" isn't external nor internal, then where is it? 

So, to me, buddhism is not about helping one taste presence or into an effortless state of non-dual or into a state free of conceptualities but also points out this fundamental cognitive flaw that confuses the mind.  This is more crucial.  If the cognitive fault isn't uprooted and seen through, then all experiences regardless of how mystical and profound will be distorted.

Eliminating conceptualities and elaborations do not mean one has uprooted and seen through "inherentness" and self-view.  That is just non-analytical mundane cessation.””

Jayson MPaul commented,

“Yes these are very important contemplations for realizing the emptiness of containment, boundaries, and the presence itself. Where are those sensations? Then just let all the sensations be where they are, which is nowhere. Brilliant but translucent, appearing but not there, holographic, ephemeral, like a rainbow.”

Soh replied, “Also, John Tan’s reply reminds me of this quote, 

"The process of eradicating avidyā (ignorance) is conceived… not as a mere stopping of thought, but as the active realization of the opposite of what ignorance misconceives. Avidyā is not a mere absence of knowledge, but a specific misconception, and it must be removed by realization of its opposite. In this vein, Tsongkhapa says that one cannot get rid of the misconception of 'inherent existence' merely by stopping conceptuality any more than one can get rid of the idea that there is a demon in a darkened cave merely by trying not to think about it. Just as one must hold a lamp and see that there is no demon there, so the illumination of wisdom is needed to clear away the darkness of ignorance."

Napper, Elizabeth, 2003, p. 103"


“ Shared this quote with him also:

"The Song of the Jewel Mirror Awareness," a poem by the great Chinese Zen teacher Tung-shan, speaks of the very same Awareness that the Buddha pointed to. This image of a jewel mirror was used as a way to express the source from which all things issue. All the myriad things, thoughts, and feelings we experience appear like images in a mirror: vivid yet insubstantial. The ungraspable mirror is what's Real, while the seemingly isolated things that appear in it are not.

Consider for example, the simple act of smelling a rose. We see the rose, feel the rose, bring it close, breathe in through our nose. We "smell the rose," as we say, though this refers more to how we conceptualize our experience than it does to what is actually experienced. To say we smell a fragrance would be closer to the actual experience.

But where does the act of smelling a fragrance takes place? If we attend carefully, we can see that all of our usual accounts of the experience start to break down.

Is the fragrance in the rose? If it was, how could you smell it? You're here while the rose is "out there" somewhere. On the other hand, if the rose were removed, you surely wouldn't smell the fragrance. But if you were removed - or if the air in between you and the rose were removed - you also wouldn't smell it.

So is the fragrance in the rose? Is it in your nose? Is it in the air in between? Is it in the air if no one is around to smell it? If so, how could we tell? Is the fragrance in your brain, then? And if it's in your brain, then why is the rose necessary at all?

Ultimately, the simple act of "smelling a rose" - or any other act involving a subject and object - becomes impossible to pin down and utterly insubstantial.

Gradually, however, we can begin to appreciate what the experience of smelling a rose actually entails. It's of the nature of the mirror itself - that is, that the source of all experience is Mind. As such, the act of smelling - or seeing or hearing or touching or thinking - literally has no location. This non-locality is the very essence of Mind.”

Sim Pern Chong commented on above quote from Zen teacher Steve Hagen, “ Soh Wei Yu Wow.. this is really good. Thanks.”

Yin Ling posted, “ Love this. When the “unfindability” taste really sinks in deep, everything becomes really weird. 

Everything floats in space, no location. Even thoughts, emotions.. they just float without an owner, without a location. 

But that insight will need a clear and deep non dual/ anatta insight to really feel the essence of what John is talking up there.”

William Kong

Soh Wei Yu

In above, John uses non-analytical cessation -- is this a synonym for direct-experience?

I've heard Malcolm also use the term "analytical cessation". Can you clarify this term?

I've always interpreted as meaning, upon examining/analysis, these designations for "brain", "floor", "hardness", "world", "in/out", "i/self" etc ... the referents cannot be found; that they are only valid notionally.


William Kong

I found my own answer:

Also, more succinctly, I found a Malcolm Smith quote where he states that analytical cessation is due to insight, eg: wisdom.

He also used the term "simple cessation" as a synonym for non-analytical cessation.


Soh Wei Yu



William Kong

Non analytical cessation is used by john tan to mean states of nirvikalpa samadhi or oblivion without insight into anatta and emptiness.

On the contrary, he said of this quote,

“Khamtrul Rinpoche on the realization of anatta in the Mahamudra text (recommended reading! with lots of pointers for contemplation too):

"At that point, is the observer—awareness—other than the

observed—stillness and movement—or is it actually that stillness and

movement itself? By investigating with the gaze of your own awareness,

you come to understand that that which is investigating itself is also

no other than stillness and movement. Once this happens you will

experience lucid emptiness as the naturally luminous self-knowing

awareness. Ultimately, whether we say nature and radiance, undesirable

and antidote, observer and observed, mindfulness and thoughts, stillness

and movement, etc., you should know that the terms of each pair are no

different from one another; by receiving the blessing of the guru,

properly ascertain that they are inseparable. Ultimately, to arrive at

the expanse free of observer and observed is the realization

of the true meaning and the culmination of all analyses. This is called

“the view transcending concepts,” which is free of conceptualization,

or “the vajra mind view.”

"Fruition vipashyana is the correct realization of the final conviction of the nonduality of observer and observed."

Khamtrul Rinpoche III. The Royal Seal of Mahamudra: Volume One: A

Guidebook for the Realization of Coemergence: 1 (p. 242). Shambhala.

John Tan commented on the above:

[9:14 PM, 6/20/2020] John Tan: This is not just mere experience.

[9:15 PM, 6/20/2020] John Tan: It sees through the conventions and analysis and realized the emptiness of these conventions...

[7:52 PM, 6/20/2020] John Tan: Until the meditator or agent disappears for good.

[7:53 PM, 6/20/2020] John Tan: Few integrate total exertion and DO into anatta (except Dogen) as the right view, pretty sad.

[7:54 PM, 6/20/2020] John Tan: But there r some articles that r really good by some tibetan masters.

[7:58 PM, 6/20/2020] Soh Wei Yu: which articles?

[8:02 PM, 6/20/2020] John Tan: I was scanning through our blog and found one article u posted about resting in the 6 senses. Forgotten by which karmapa.

[8:03 PM, 6/20/2020] Soh Wei Yu: oh.. this one

[8:05 PM, 6/20/2020] John Tan: U r good at finding🤣🤣🤣

[8:05 PM, 6/20/2020] John Tan: Next time I can just ask u...

[8:05 PM, 6/20/2020] John Tan: Lol”

Self-Liberation by Khamtrul Rinpoche III


Self-Liberation by Khamtrul Rinpoche III

Self-Liberation by Khamtrul Rinpoche III

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John Tan

William Kong when u say "valid only nominally", do understand that there is functioning and valid functioning means everything for nothing exist essentially. So we are expected to understand how functioning works without essential existence. Like understanding how nominal objects function in our language, in energy system and in liberation and even in science otherwise we become nihilistic.


John Tan

Soh Wei Yu I can't understand y u like to post a simple and casual reply to someone everywhere.🤦


Soh Wei Yu

John Tan I think these are very important pointers for post-anatta contemplation and can be applicable to other people as well.


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