I would like to announce two things:


1) The Awakening to Reality Practice Guide by Nafis Rahman: https://app.box.com/s/zc0suu4dil01xbgirm2r0rmnzegxaitq


2) AtR Guide - abridged version by Pablo Pintabona [partially done, halfway done for Stage 5]: https://atr-abridgedguide.blogspot.com/2021/11/this-is-shortened-version-of-complete.html


I would like to thank these two individuals for their great and compassionate effort to make these compilations. I trust it will be of great benefit for spiritual aspirants who find benefit in the AtR materials.





 

I AMness is an important realization. But just don’t get stuck there.
"Though buddha nature is plainness and most direct, these are still the steps. If one does not know the process and said ‘yes this is it’… then it is extremely misleading. For 99 percent [of ‘realized’/’enlightened’ persons] what one is talking about is "I AMness", and has not gone beyond permanence, still thinking [of] permanence, formless… ...all and almost all will think of it along the line of "I AMness", all are like the grandchildren of "AMness", and that is the root cause of duality.” - John Tan, 2007
See: Thusness/PasserBy's [John Tan's] Seven Stages of Enlightenment
There is no perceiving principle that sees the I or self.
That's an idea of ​​gurus.
What is called 'the sense of self' is simply a functioning of the human perspective, which is actually not a perspective at all, but merely the conceptual overlay of the brain.
There is no 'eye' behind the clouds.
It's a chimera, including every idea about it.
We are conceptual debris.
We have no pure essential consciousness.
It only appears like that.
As the sense 'I Am' .
That's why there is a huge spiritual market, selling tubers for lemons to I-ammers who think they are divine presence of awareness.
A celestial entity.
Divine love.
There's nothing wrong with that.
There just is no one present!
Only wondrous jest.
Wouter van Oord.

30 Comments

Glenda Gill
In Buddhism is possible to see emptiness before I-Am-ness. To see one is nothing before one sees one is everything. I like I-Am-ness with emptiness (or even without it) better than emptiness without an I Am to fall back to.
  • Glenda Gill
    edited for clarity
  • Soh Wei Yu
    What do you mean by emptiness?
  • Glenda Gill
    Emptiness = no permanent, independent, singular self.
  • Glenda Gill
    Just arising/passing
  • Glenda Gill
    Not even that really
  • Glenda Gill
    Form is emptiness without emptiness is form. Stuck in void/conventional reality, without realizing conventional reality is part of Ultimate Reality, and thinking Void/nirvikalpa is Ultimate, but something feels missing. Does that make sense?
  • Glenda Gill
    F'ing mu koan.
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  • Glenda Gill
    Maybe consult the oracle? John Tan
  • John Tan
    Glenda Gill u can take emptiness to mean primordial purity free from all elaborations (non-gelug) or to mean freedom from self-nature, inherent existence (gelug).
  • Glenda Gill
    Oh nice. With or without I Am, if I understand correctly?
  • Glenda Gill
    What I mean is, could I Am be just pushed to the background temporarily and then shift back in?
  • John Tan
    Glenda Gill U do not need to realize clarity (I M).
  • Glenda Gill
    Ah yes that makes sense.
  • Glenda Gill
    Although realizing clarity after, I feel like the sense that I had missed something was correct.
  • Glenda Gill
    I tried to tell that to my zen teacher, that I did not understand the everything part, and he did not offer any guidance. Maybe that's just how it is in zen. I'm pretty sure he understands both.
  • John Tan
    Glenda Gill understanding ultimate nature of ourselves, u need both.
  • Glenda Gill
    Yes, thank you. That was my sense of it. That thing that kept me looking for something besides emptiness.
  • Glenda Gill
    i ended up seeing it in Advaita ☺️🙏
  • Glenda Gill
    but it's there in the Tibetian stuff too I think
  • John Tan
    Glenda Gill yes. U just have to strip off the "reification" part of awareness. It is not so possible to realize the union of clarity and emptiness in a single go.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    See this person, tsultrim tserri:
    Soh Wei Yu In 2008:
    (4:15 PM) AEN: tsultrim serri:
    (4:15 PM) AEN: Initiated a file transfer
    (4:15 PM) AEN:
    (Mind has often been likened to a mirror, but the analogy goes only so far, because mirrors exist and mind doesn't, well let's say that one can touch mirrors. What existence means, particularly at these levels, would be a fruitful topic, but one that i will not cover. Also , mind doesn't really reflect phenomena, it is the phenomena themselves. This is covered further down in these 4 prajnas, but for clarity i thought i should mention that.
    (4:15 PM) AEN:
    "Thusness' or "suchness" is what one feels with the experience of emptiness. It is a solid sense of being (yes, emptiness has a solid or one could say rich feeling). The luminescence of mind can be compared the the surface of a mirror. If the mirror is dirty it doesn't have a bright surface, and if mind is filled with obscuration its awareness is dimmed. With the experience of emptiness, phenomena become more vivid. It is said in the post that this confirms one's entrance into Zen. In the vajrayana, this vividness of mind is called "osel" in Tibetan, and it is a sign that one has entered the vajrayana. In my experience, this is quite far along the path. To get to this point, one would have to experience egolessness of self, egolessness of other, nondualty, emptiness, and only then luminosity.)
    (4:16 PM) Thusness: very good.
    (4:16 PM) AEN: from another thread: "Exist is a tricky word in Buddhism. Mind does not exist in the sense of being a thing, but it does exist as well, otherwise how would we be able to see, hear etc.
    Having said that, for an individual, there is nothing "outside of awareness." Everything that happens to us happens in our awareness(it's not ours, but so what). Furthermore, we are literally everything that happens in our awareness. There is no self; we are simply the world. if we see a chair in our kitchen, that is what we are at that moment since there is no separation between phenomena and mind. Phenomena are mind and mind is phenomena. smile.gif
    Tsultrim"
    (4:22 PM) Thusness: this tsultrim's insight is stage 6.
    (4:23 PM) AEN: oic..
    (4:23 PM) Thusness: truly good.
    (4:23 PM) AEN: icic..
    (4:23 PM) Thusness: not many can truly feel the differences.
    (4:23 PM) AEN: oic..
    (4:24 PM) Thusness: it is only until a certain phase of experience then that clarity comes.
    (4:24 PM) Thusness: and often in tremendous in the stability of thoughtlessness... thought almost seldom arise and one becomes the full vividness of arising phenomena.
    (4:25 PM) Thusness: is he a dzogchen practitioner?
    (4:25 PM) AEN: oic
    (4:25 PM) AEN: i think mahamudra
    (4:25 PM) AEN: he talks about the four yoga
    (4:25 PM) Thusness: ic
    (4:25 PM) AEN: "(Yes, this agrees, in my opinion, with "nonmeditation" in the 4 yogas of mahamudra, the last and most fruitional yoga of mahamudra."
    (4:25 PM) AEN: oh
    (4:25 PM) AEN: and he linked the 4 jnanas to the 4 yogas
    The Importance of Luminosity
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    (5:19 PM) Thusness: actually what he said about prajna and jhana is quite good. But u have to know that it is not the sort of jhana as in concentration.
    (5:20 PM) Thusness: it is the experience of effortlessness in non-dual luminosity.
    (5:22 PM) Thusness: There will come a time every day mundane activities, practice and enlightenment is just one substance.
    (5:24 PM) AEN: no he said jnana
    (5:24 PM) AEN: jnana is more like knowledge
    (5:24 PM) AEN: not jhana absorption
    (5:25 PM) Thusness: ic
    (5:26 PM) Thusness: There will come a time when emptiness becomes so clear and the separation is no more then without the need to recall or remind. The last veil that separates is like permanently gone. Then there is no practice because all moments of arising phenomena is just one practice.
    (5:28 PM) AEN: oic..
    (5:28 PM) AEN: thats what he means by observing emptiness and 'being' emptiness rite
    (5:28 PM) AEN: i mean the difference between it
    (5:29 PM) AEN: Initiated a file transfer
    (5:29 PM) AEN:
    In a post above, i distinguished between the two. I know you asked Matylda, but until she replies, if she does, possibly i could be of help.
    Prajna is the tool that sees emptiness. It is actually an expansion of awareness, using awareness in the context of mindfulness/awareness. Awareness gets to a point where it discovers the nature of mind which includes emptiness. At that point, awareness transforms into prajna. There are lesser stages of prajna as well, but i would have to review them.
    Prajna has been likened to the mother of all the Buddhas, because through its activity the mind that becomes the Buddha mind is born. Actually, it has always been there, and is unborn, but let's not quibble.
    (5:29 PM) AEN:
    So, prajna sees emptiness. When first seen, however, one feels emptiness as separate from what has discovered it. There is still a slight trace of dualism. We experience this dualism as a seeking for emptinesss ie there is a seeker and something sought. At the realization of jnana, this duality melts, so to speak, and emptiness exists or doesn't exist without a sense of something observing it. Also, one attains wisdom when emptiness arises, not wisdom about anything, simply being in the state of wisdom. With prajna, one observes that wisdom; with jnana, one becomes it.
    Tsultrim
    (5:35 PM) Thusness: jnana here does not refer to the type of concentration like it said. It is an effortless non-dual luminous experience due to the maturing of prajna.
    (5:35 PM) Thusness: I have often said clear until absorbed. Vividness of forms.
    (5:37 PM) Thusness: It is the outcome of the clarity of insight due to the dissolving of that tendency to divide. It is natural, not a form of attention or concentration. This should not be misunderstood.
    (5:38 PM) Thusness: He mentioned about luminosity is the last fruition stage and one must go through emptiness to realise this stage.
    (5:39 PM) Thusness: This is not exactly right. 🙂
    (5:39 PM) Thusness: Advaita Vedanta practitioner will experience the opposite. 🙂
    (5:39 PM) AEN: oic..
    (5:39 PM) AEN: but for mahamudra it is like that rite?
    (5:39 PM) AEN: theravada also?
    (5:39 PM) AEN: like dharma dan
    (5:40 PM) Thusness: yes
    (5:40 PM) Thusness: it is because of right view
    (5:40 PM) Thusness: without the right view, u will experience luminosity aspect of awareness without knowing its empty nature.
    (5:40 PM) Thusness: that is more dangerous.
    (5:41 PM) Thusness: therefore establishment of right view is most important. Seeds are planted.
    (5:42 PM) Thusness: It is better not to experience then to experience the wrong stuff and makes it more difficult to get out of the dualistic experience of Eternal Witness.
    (Comments by Soh: Regarding whether it is important to go through I AM realization or can we skip to anatta -- John Tan and I and Sim Pern Chong have had differing and evolving opinions about this over the years (I remember Sim Pern Chong saying he thinks people can skip it altogether, John also wondered if it is possible or advisable as certain AF people seem to have skipped it but experience luminosity), however after witnessing the progress of people it seems to us that those who went into anatta without the I AM realization tend to miss out the luminosity and intensity of luminosity. And then they will have to go through another phase. For those with I AM realization, the second stanza of anatta comes very easily, in fact the first aspect to become more apparent. Nowadays John and my opinion is that it is best to go through the I AM phase, then nondual and anatta..
    There was also the worry that by leading people into the I AM, they can get stuck there. (As John Tan and Sim Pern Chong was stuck there for decades)
    But I have shown that it is possible to progress rather quickly (in eight months) from I AM to anatta. So the being stuck is due to lack of right pointers and directions, not inherently an issue with I AM.
    And the way to progress quickly is to be aware of the pitfalls of the I AM as I wrote in the AtR guide, and going along the four aspects of I AM and then nondual contemplations or two stanzas of anatta. If I kept reinforcing the pitfalls of I AM with wrong view, maybe I can get stuck there. Likewise for other phases, there are other pitfalls as well. Even after anatta, John Tan has at times told me to revisit the aspect of I AM. It is possible, even important, to integrate that quality and taste.)
  • Soh Wei Yu
    Also
    Anatta and Pure Presence
    Someone told me about having been through insights of no self and then progressing to a realisation of the ground of being.
    I replied:
    Hi ____
    Thanks for the sharing.
    This is the I AM realization. Had that realisation after contemplating Before birth, who am I? For two years. It’s an important realization. Many people had insights into certain aspects of no self, impersonality, and “dry non dual experience” without doubtless realization of Presence. Therefore I AM realisation is a progression for them.
    Similarly in Zen, asking who am I is to directly experience presence. How about asking a koan of what is the cup? What is the chirping bird, the thunder clap? What is its purpose?
    When I talked about anatta, it is a direct insight of Presence and recognizing what we called background presence, is in the forms and colours, sounds and sensations, clean and pure. Authentication is be authenticated by all things. Also there is no presence other than that. What we call background is really just an image of foreground Presence, even when Presence is assuming its subtle formless all pervasiveness.
    However due to ignorance, we have a very inherent and dual view, if we do see through the nature of presence, the mind continues to be influenced by dualistic and inherent tendencies. Many teach to overcome it through mere non conceptuality but this is highly misleading.
    Thusness also wrote:
    The anatta I realized is quite unique. It is not just a realization of no-self. But it must first have an intuitive insight of Presence. Otherwise will have to reverse the phases of insights
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    Anatta and Pure Presence
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  • Glenda Gill
    Soh Wei Yu beautiful, thank you. The 'all things' was what I was missing with zen (although people talked about being nothing/everything) I found it with Ramana's practice of the I mantra (really a secondary practice for him as you may know he does not often speak of mantra but rather inquiry). But just walking around saying I and experiencing that I is everything. I am That; and that and that and that.... is quite a lovely thing. "authentication is authenticated by all things and there is no presence other than that." Perfect. ❤🙏🙏🙏
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    After nondual one should also thoroughly penetrate the view of inherency, otherwise awareness is still reified as inherently existing and unchanging.
    Also John Tan wrote in 2009,
    Excerpt
    4. On Non-Dual Experience, Realization and Anatta
    I have just casually gone through some of your forum discussions. Very enlightening discussions and well presentation of my 7-phases-of-insights but try not to over-emphasize it as a model; it should not be taken as a definite model of enlightenment nor should you use it as a framework to validate others' experiences and insights. Simply take it as a guide along your spiritual journey.
    You are right to differentiate non-dual experience from non-dual realization and non-dual realization from the insight of anatta. We have discussed this umpteem times. Non-dual experience in the context we are using refers to the experience of no-subject-object division. The experience is much like putting two candle flames together where the boundary between the flames becomes indistinguishable. It is not a realization but simply a stage, an experience of unity between the observer and the observed where the conceptual layer that divides is temporarily suspended in a meditative state. This you have experienced.
    Non-dual realization on the other hand is a deep understanding that comes from seeing through the illusionary nature of subject-object division. It is a natural non-dual state that resulted from an insight that arises after rigorous investigation, challenge and a prolonged period of practice that is specially focused on ‘No-Self’. Somehow focusing on “No-Self” will spark a sense of sacredness towards the transient and fleeting phenomena. The sense of sacredness that is once the monopoly of the Absolute is now also found in the Relative. The term ‘No-Self’ like Zen-Koan may appear cryptic, senseless or illogical but when realized, it is actually obviously clear, direct and simple. The realization is accompanied with the experience that everything is being dissolved into either:
    1. An ultimate Subject or
    2. As mere ‘flow of phenomenality’
    In whatever the case, both spells the end of separateness; experientially there is no sense of two-ness and the experience of unity can be quite overwhelming initially but eventually it will lose its grandeur and things turn quite ordinary. Nevertheless, regardless of whether the sense of Oneness is derived from the experience of ‘All as Self’ or ‘as simply just manifestation’, it is the beginning insight of “No-Self”. The former is known as One-Mind and the later, No-Mind.
    In Case 1 it is usual that practitioners will continue to personify, reify and extrapolate a metaphysical essence in a very subtle way, almost unknowingly. This is because despite the non-dual realization, understanding is still orientated from a view that is based on subject-object dichotomy. As such it is hard to detect this tendency and practitioners continue their journey of building their understanding of ‘No-Self based on Self’.
    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.
    Therefore this phase of insight is not about singing eloquently the non-dual nature of an Ultimate Reality; contrary it is deeming this Ultimate Reality as irrelevant. Ultimate Reality appears relevant only to a mind that is bond to seeing things inherently, once this tendency dissolves, the idea of a source will be seen as flawed and erroneous. Therefore to fully experience the breadth and depth of no-self, practitioners must be prepared and willing to give up the entire subject-object framework and be open to eliminate the entire idea of a ‘source’. Rob expressed very skillfully this point in his talk:
    One time the Buddha went to a group of monks and he basically told them not to see Awareness as The Source of all things. So this sense of there being a vast awareness and everything just appears out of that and disappears back into it, beautiful as that is, he told them that’s actually not a skillful way of viewing reality. And that is a very interesting sutta, because it’s one of the only suttas where at the end it doesn’t say the monks rejoiced in his words.
    This group of monks didn’t want to hear that. They were quite happy with that level of insight, lovely as it was, and it said the monks did not rejoice in the Buddha’s words. (laughter) And similarly, one runs into this as a teacher, I have to say. This level is so attractive, it has so much of the flavor of something ultimate, that often times people are unbudgeable there.
    What then is the view that Buddhism is talking about without resorting to a ‘source’? I think the post by Vajrahridaya in the thread ‘What makes Buddhism different’ of your forum succinctly and concisely expressed the view, it is well written. That said, do remember to infinitely regress back into this vivid present moment of manifestation – as this arising thought, as this passing scent – Emptiness is Form. 🙂
    Realization and Experience and Non-Dual Experience from Different Perspectives
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    Realization and Experience and Non-Dual Experience from Different Perspectives
    Realization and Experience and Non-Dual Experience from Different Perspectives
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  • Soh Wei Yu
    Andre also explained well the difference between one mind (substantialist nondual) insight and anatta here:
    Beyond Awareness: reflections on identity and awareness
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    Beyond Awareness: reflections on identity and awareness
    Beyond Awareness: reflections on identity and awareness
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  • Glenda Gill
    Thank you for all the resources. Bookmarking.❤️🙏
    On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection
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    On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection
    On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection
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