Transcendental glimpses are misled by the cognitive faculty of our mind. That mode of cognition is dualistic. All is Mind but this mind is not to be taken as ‘Self’. “I Am”, Eternal Witness, are all products of our cognition and is the root cause that prevents true seeing.

The ‘who’, ‘where’ and ‘when’, the ‘I’, ‘here’ and ‘now’ must ultimately give way to the experience of total transparency. Do not fall back to a source, just the manifestation is sufficient. This will become so clear that total transparency is experienced. When total transparency is stabilized, transcendental body is experienced and dharmakaya is seen everywhere. This is the samadhi bliss of Bodhisattva. This is the fruition of practice.

Experience all appearance with total vitality, vividness and clarity. They are really our Pristine Awareness, every moment and everywhere in all its manifolds and diversities. When causes and conditions is, manifestation is, when manifestation is, Awareness is. All is the one reality.

From The non-solidity of existence


Hi Longchen,

I can see the synchronization of emptiness view into your non-dual experiences --. Integrating view, practice and experience. This is the essence of our emptiness nature and right understanding of non-dual experience in Buddhism that is different from Advaita Vedanta teaching. This is also the understanding of why Everything is the One Reality incorporating causes, conditions and luminosity of our Empty nature as One and inseparable. Everything as the One Reality should never be understood from a dualistic/inherent standpoint.

Note: if you haven't read
Thusness's Six Stages of Experience, I would strongly recommend reading that first.

From Thusness's Six Stages of Experience. Also related: The Transience

Stage 5 footnote (see URL for the full writing): The drop is thorough, the center is gone. The center is nothing more than a subtle karmic tendency to divide.
A more poetic expression would be sound hears, scenery sees, the dust is the mirror. Transient phenomenon itself has always been the mirror, complete in arising, self-liberates in its own accords.

Stage 6 footnote (see URL for the full writing): With the willingness to let go of the ‘I’ and ‘Mine’, the ‘emptiness nature’ is clearly understood. Practice is neither going after the mirror nor escaping from the maya reflection; it is to clearly 'see' the 'nature' of reflection.

To see that there is really no mirror other than the ongoing reflection due to our emptiness nature. Neither is there a mirror to cling to as the background reality nor a maya to escape from. Beyond these two extreme lies the middle path -- the prajna wisdom of seeing that the maya is our Buddha nature.

Zen Master Dogen, Zen Master Hui-Neng:

Impermanence is Buddha-Nature.
Zen Master Sheng Yen:

When you are in the second stage, although you feel that the "I" does not exist, the basic substance of the universe, or the Supreme Truth, still exists. Although you recognize that all the different phenomena are the extension of this basic substance or Supreme Truth, yet there still exists the opposition of basic substance versus external phenomena.
One who has entered Chan (Zen) does not see basic substance and phenomena as two things standing in opposition to each other. They cannot even be illustrated as being the back and palm of a hand. This is because phenomena themselves are basic substance, and apart from phenomena there is no basic substance to be found. The reality of basic substance exists right in the unreality of phenomena, which change ceaselessly and have no constant form. This is the Truth.


Thoughts, feelings and perceptions come and go; they are not ‘me’; they are transient in nature. Isn’t it clear that if I am aware of these passing thoughts, feelings and perceptions, then it proves some entity is immutable and unchanging? This is a logical conclusion rather than experiential truth. The formless reality seems real and unchanging because of propensities (conditioning) and the power to recall a previous experience.

There is also another experience, this experience does not discard or disown the transients -- forms, thoughts, feelings and perceptions. It is the experience that thought thinks and sound hears. Thought knows not because there is a separate knower but because it is that which is known. It knows because it's it. It gives rise to the insight that isness never exists in an undifferentiated state but as transient manifestation; each moment of manifestation is an entirely new reality, complete in its own.
Buddhism Plain and Simple page 115, by Zen Teacher Steve Hagen:

With the two types of views there are two kinds of minds. As human beings, we all have what we could call ordinary minds - the mind that you've always assumed you've had. It's a calculating mind, a discriminating mind, a fragmented mind. It's the mind of ordinary consciousness, the mind of self and other. We generally think of it as "my mind."

But there's another mind that is unborn, ungrown, and unconditioned. Unlike "your mind," it is unbound, for there is nothing beyond it. To this Mind, there is no "other mind."

This Mind is nothing other than the Whole. It's simply thus, the fabric of the world itself - the ongoing arising and falling away that are matter, energy and events.

Speaking of this Mind, the great Chinese Zen master Huang Po said,

All buddhas and ordinary people are just One Mind... This Mind is beyond all measurements, names, oppositions: this very being is It; as soon as you stir your mind you turn away from It.

This Mind is self-evident - it's always switched on, so to speak. We can - and, in fact, we do - see It in every moment. If we would refrain from stirring our minds (rest our frontal lobes, as my Zen teacher used to say) and let our conceptualising die down, like the ripples on a pond after the stirring wind has ceased, we would realise - we would know Mind directly.
(Steve Hagen)
Ultimate Truth, on the other hand, is direct perception. And what is directly perceived (as opposed to conceive) is that no separate, individualised things exist as such. There's nothing to be experienced but this seamless, thoroughgoing relativity and flux.

In other words, there are no particulars, but only thus.

By Theravadin teacher Daniel M. Ingram/Dharma Dan

...Finally, arahats understand that “emptiness is form.” Nirvana is found in samsara, in the midst of the phenomenal world, as well as in the attainment of Fruition beyond the phenomenal world. This is what is meant by removing the “last veil of unknowing.” They understand that it is form that is empty, that some illusory sense of a split off peacefulness or island of imperturbability was never true or realistic refuge. All of these phenomena are already empty and always have been. This is the great cosmic punch line:
all of this transience turns out to have been it all along. Not only was form empty, but emptiness was actually form. The split is gone.
(Steve Hagen)

Some people think the teaching of the awakened is nihilistic, as if it asserts a kind of nothingness. As if, somehow, nirvana is lapsing into a tranquil oblivion, a floating grayness, drifting in a shoreless sea. That is not nirvana.

Recall that everything we see, hear, feel, and think is constant flux and change. Nothing endures. We long for permanence and as a result we suffer, we find none. There seems to be only this coming and going, coming and going, this unending arising and ceasing.

We experience everything as motion. Indeed, physicists tell us that matter is literally nothing but motion. And no matter how we look at it, at any scale, our experience is always of motion, of change. This is true of everything in the physical world, including our bodies. Every cell - indeed, every atom of every cell - reveals nothing but ceaseless coming and going. Our bodies are re-made moment by moment, and in no two moments are they the same.

The same is true of our minds. The contents of our minds are in constant motion as well. Thoughts, feelings, judgements, and impulses arise, one after another, then bloom and fade away like flowers after their season.

Nirvana is seeing, thoroughly and completely, that this is so.

(David Carse)

After the jungle, there is an intensely odd and very beau-tiful quality to the experience of life. In one sense I can only describe everything, all experience, as having a certain emptiness. This is the sense in which everything used to matter, to be vital and important, and is now seen as unreal, empty, not important, an illusion. Once it is seen that the beyond-brilliance of Sat Chit Ananda is all that is, the dream continues as a kind of shadow. Yet, at the same moment that all of what appears in the dream is experi-enced as empty, it is also seen as more deeply beautiful and perfect than ever imagined, precisely because it is not other than Sat Chit Ananda, than all that is. Everything that does not matter, that is empty illusion, is at the same time itself the beyond-brilliance, the perfect beauty. Somehow there is a balance; these two apparently opposite aspects do not cancel each other out but complement each other. This makes no 'sense,' yet it is how it is.

There is one tradition within Advaita which says that maya, the manifestation of the physical universe, is over-laid or superimposed on Sat Chit Ananda. I'm no scholar of these things, and can only attempt to describe what is seen here; and the Understanding here is that there is no question of one thing superimposed on another. Maya, the manifestation, the physical universe, is precisely Sat Chit Ananda, is not other than it, does not exist on its own as something separate to be overlaid on top of something else. This is the whole point! There is no maya! The only reason it appears to have its own reality and is commonly taken to be real in itself is because of a misperceiving, a mistaken perception which sees the appearance and not What Is. This is the meaning of Huang Po's comment that "no distinction should be made between the Absolute and the sentient world." No distinction! There is only One. There is not ever in any sense two. All perception of distinction and separation, all perception of duality, and all perception of what is known as physical reality, is mind-created illu-sion. When a teacher points at the physical world and says, "All this is maya," what is being said is that what you are seeing is illusion; what all this is is All That Is, pure Being Consciousness Bliss Outpouring; it is your perception of it as a physical world that is maya, illusion.
From The Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

A. Mind in Terms of the Absolute

The Mind in terms of the Absolute is the one World of Reality (dharmadhatu) and the essence of all phases of existence in their totality. That which is called "the essential nature of the Mind" is unborn and is imperishable. It is only through illusions that all things come to be differentiated. If one is freed from illusions, then to him there will be no appearances (lakshana) of objects regarded as absolutely independent existences; therefore all things from the beginning transcend all forms of verbalization, description, and conceptualization and are, in the final analysis, undifferentiated, free from alteration, and indestructible. They are only of the One Mind; hence the name Suchness.

All explanations by words are provisional and without validity, for they are merely used in accordance with illusions and are incapable of denoting Suchness. The term Suchness likewise has no attributes which can be verbally specified. The term Suchness is, so to speak, the limit of verbalization wherein a word is used to put an end to words. But the essence of Suchness itself cannot be put an end to, for all things in their Absolute aspect are real; nor is there anything which needs to be pointed out as real, for all things are equally in the state of Suchness. It should be understood that all things are incapable of being verbally explained or thought of; hence the name Suchness.

Question: If such is the meaning of the principle of Mahayana, how is it possible for men to conform themselves to and enter into it?

Answer: If they understand that, concerning all things, though they are spoken of, there is neither that which speaks, nor that which can be spoken of, and though they are thought of, there is neither that which thinks, nor that which can be thought of, then they are said to have conformed to it. And when they are freed from their thoughts, they are said to have entered into it. Next, Suchness has two aspects if predicated in words. One is that it is truly empty (sunya), for this aspect can, in the final sense, reveal what is real. The other is that it is truly nonempty (a-sunya), for its essence itself is endowed with undefiled and excellent qualities.

1. Truly Empty

Suchness is empty because from the beginning it has never been related to any defiled states of existence, it is free from all marks of individual distinction of things, and it has nothing to do with thoughts conceived by a deluded mind. It should be understood that the essential nature of Suchness is neither with marks nor without marks; neither not with marks nor not without marks; nor is it both with and without marks simultaneously; it is neither with a single mark nor with different marks; neither not with a single mark nor not with different marks; nor is it both with a single and with different marks simultaneously. In short, since all unenlightened men discriminate with their deluded minds from moment to moment, they are alienated from Suchness; hence, the definition "empty"; but once they are free from their deluded minds, they will find that there is nothing to be negated.

2. Truly Nonempty

Since it has been made clear that the essence of all things is empty, i.e., devoid of illusions, the true Mind is eternal, permanent, immutable, pure, and self-sufficient; therefore, it is called "nonempty". And also there is no trace of particular marks to be noted in it, as it is the sphere that transcends thoughts and is in harmony with enlightenment alone.

Zen Master Huang Po:

25. The term unity refers to a homogeneous spiritual brilliance which separates into six harmoniously blended 'elements'. The homogeneous spiritual brilliance is the One Mind, while the six harmoniously blended 'elements' are the six sense organs. These six sense organs beome severally united with objects that defile them -- the eyes with form, the ear with sound, the nose with smell, the tongue with taste, the body with touch, and the thinking mind with entities. Between these organs and their objects arise the six sensory perceptions, making eighteen sense-realms in all. If you understand that these eighteen realms have no objective existence, you will bind the six harmoniously blended 'elements' into a single spiritual brilliance -- a single spiritual brilliance which is the One Mind. All students of the way know this, but they cannot avoid forming concepts of 'a single spiritual brilliance' and 'the six harmoniously blended elements'. Accordingly they are chained to entities and fail to achieve a tacit understanding of original Mind.

Academic and Zen teacher Dr. David Loy:

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



...Now when we talk about awareness, we don't call it Self or we don't call it Mind. Why people call it Awareness is because they do not want to call it Self, because there is no Self. The reason they said Awareness, is because Awareness is not an entity. It is not a thing. It is just a point of luminous clarity. It is just clarity. But because we are so accustomed to thinking things in terms of object and subject, we always take Awareness as something. It must be somewhere inside, residing somewhere. Even if it is not residing inside the body it must be somewhere, someplace. This is the problem, you see. So when you say that let’s be aware. We always think of “how?” How to be aware? When we say “where is awareness”, they always look for a place, they always look for a something. This is how the mind react, this is what I call a momentum. They always behave this way. They do not know how to say “Just do nothing. Everything is expressing itself by clarity.” They always want to react, you see what I mean?

It is not permanent, since it does not exist at all.
It is not nothingness, since it is vividly clear and awake.
It is not oneness, since many things are cognised and known.
It is not plurality, since the many things known are inseparable in one taste.

Flight of the Garuda (Song 6 by Shabkar Tsokdrug Rangdrol)


Listen again, fortunate heart-children!
That which is widely renowned as mind, does anyone have it? No one has it!

What is it the source of? It is the source of samsara and nirvana and their myriad joys and sorrows.

What is it believed to be? There are many beliefs according to the various vehicles.

What is it called? It is named in countless different ways.

All ordinary people call it I.
Some non-Buddhists call it Self.
Shravakas call it "individual egolessness."
The Mind Only School label it Mind.
Some call it Prajnaparamita, [that is,] "transcendent knowledge."

Some label it Sugatagarbha, [that is,] Buddha-nature.
Some name it Mahamudra.
Some give it the name Madhyamika.
Some say "the single sphere."
Some name it Dharmadhatu, [that is,] realm of phenomena.
Some call it the name alaya, "ground of all."
Some call it "ordinary mind."

Despite the innumerable names that are tagged onto it,
Know that the real meaning is as follows:
Let your mind spontaneously relax and rest.
When left to itself, ordinary mind is fresh and naked.
If observed, it is a vivid clarity without anything to see,
A direct awareness, sharp and awake.
Possessing no existence, it is empty and pure,
A clear openness of non-dual luminosity and emptiness.

It is not permanent, since it does not exist at all.
It is not nothingness, since it is vividly clear and awake.
It is not oneness, since many things are cognised and known.
It is not plurality, since the many things known are inseparable in one taste.
It is not somewhere else; it is your own awareness itself.
The face of this Primordial Protector, dwelling in your heart,
Can be directly perceived in this very instant.
Never be separated from it, children of my heart!

If you want to find something greater than this in another place,
It’s like going off searching for footprints although the elephant is right there.
You may scan the entire three-thousand-fold universe,
But it is impossible that you will find more than the mere name of Buddha.

This is the song which indicates the natural state of the main practice.


About the title: This hymn or song of realization (Tib. doha) is called Flight of the Garuda because it concerns Mind, the source and vehicle of consciousness which is

1. something that has no existence and

2. yet has the ability to range far and wide all over the universe and

3. on/in/with it go notions of the Divine or of metaphysical Existence.

4. the symbolic meaning of the Garuda in the image will reveal other reasons.