Comments: A very good description of Anatta (no-self) by Joan Tollifson.

[contents removed from this page as the article is subject to periodical updates, please refer to the link to read the article]
Comments: A very good description of Anatta (no-self) by Joan Tollifson.

[contents removed from this page as the article is subject to periodical updates, please refer to the link to read the article]
Originally Posted by Subjectivity9 View  Post
Good Morning, xabir,

I believe that you are far too dismissive of this intrinsic feeling, of the I Am; or said more intimately, dismissive of your 'Original Me,' simply because the mind cannot flesh it out with description.

I also have to wonder if, in throwing away your ego, you haven’t also thrown away the baby with the bath water?

For me, it is because of contemplated this very feeling of ‘Me,’ and in this way asking “Who am I?” as Ramana says we should, that I have been able to go beyond definitions.

In contemplating this ‘Original Me,’ I have continued to deepen within it, become it, to the point where satisfaction has come to stay. This ‘Me’ is not like anything else, and yet it is very Real.

This ‘Me’ is not two, and it is not one, and yet it is not empty. “Me” is an ‘Alive Presence,’ which once experienced; cannot be denied.

Run as you may, you cannot outrun 'Intrinsic Me.' Everywhere you go, it is right there with you. Don’t take my word for it. Try to out run the 'Presence of Me,' and see where that gets you. It is impossible.

I'll be replying your post in reverse order. First of all let it be clear that I am not dismissing the clear experience and insight of that I AM Presence (this is what I have been trying to point out in 11-11-2009, 12:24 PM). It's impossible. It's undoubtable. That sense of pure Beingness, Presence, I AMness, is the most real 'thing' or 'non-thing', for whatever you are experiencing at that moment, that sense of Presence, Beingness, Pure Knowingness is constantly present, cognizant, alive and is your very nature, with such vividness and realness such that everything else including thoughts pales in comparison and is seen as merely like a dream or an illusion (though no longer the case in non-dual realisation when these phenomena themselves reveal as Presence as you will see later). And yes, You can't run away from You, for that attempt to run away is simply a thought arising in the clear presence of You. Even if one wants to doubt that I AM Presence, that I AM Presence is present as that to which the doubting arises, and that is undeniable, so the doubt is without basis. So it is certainly not just an experience that is available at a particular meditative state or a particular experience, it just goes unnoticed for most people whose attention is almost constantly fixated on and chasing after their conceptual notion of self and things. But Presence can never be lost anytime (it is timeless) and that is not separate at all from you -- It cannot be made an object of observation from a point of view of an observer, for you are never separate from IT -- this Presence that you are, being of the nature of cognizance is Self-Knowing. Therefore as I state earlier, that pure I AMness is non-dual, non-separate. For it is YOU/I, so when one who realises it feels that he/she has touched his innermost core of being.

So if I am not dismissing this clear experience and insight of I AMness then what am I talking about? I'm saying that, to quote from Thusness, that there is no forgoing of this I AMness but " is rather a deepening of insight to include the non-dual, groundlessness and interconnectedness of our luminous nature. Like what Rob said, "keep the experience but refine the views"." -- so again, same Presence as I AMness, only that one sees through the notion of center-ness, the notion of being a permanent agent, seeing the non-dual nature (not non-dual as I AM but non-dual with all phenomena), etc.

And by that: I mean, originally the I AMness feels centered, not in the sense of being located somewhere in phenomena or the body-mind, but centered in a sense that there is still some separation between this I AMness and phenomena. You feel that this I AMness not AS those phenomena, but as behind all those passing phenomena.

However there will come a time, resting in I AMness, if you then look at, say, a mountain, you might begin to notice that the sensation of the I AM or Pure Being and the sensation of the mountain are the same sensation. When you "feel" your pure Self and you "feel" the mountain, they are absolutely the same feeling. (see Some Writings on Non-duality by Ken Wilber - Do read this) And when this realisation arise, you cannot deny this as well, the non-dual Presence revealing As everything cannot be denied just as you cannot deny the I AMness. The I AM-Presence is no more I AM, no more real, non-dual, and vivid than the non-dual Mountain-Presence, so to speak, and there is no trace of separation between you and that Mountain-Presence just as you do not feel separate from the I AM Presence. Just pure mountain-presence, bird chirping-presence, without a hearer, feeler, seer, etc.

As Thusness wrote in his Stage 4:


I was meditating the above stanza deeply…about its meaning until one day, suddenly I heard ‘tongss…’, it was so clear, there was nothing else, just the sound and nothing else! And ‘tongs…’ resounding…. It was so clear, so vivid!

That experience is so familiar, so real and so clear. It is the same experience of “I AM”….it is without thought, without concepts, without intermediary, without anyone there, without any in-between…What is it? IT is Presence! But this time it is not ‘I AM’, it is not asking ‘who am I’, it is not the pure sense of “I AM”, it is ‘TONGSss….’, the pure Sound…
Then come Taste, just the Taste and nothing else….
The heart beats…..
the Scenery…

(as you can see also, the methodology is also different, to give rise to the non-conceptual experience/insight of I AM you contemplate 'Who am I' Ramana Maharshi style, and like you, Thusness was very attracted to Ramana Maharshi at that stage and collected all his books... and also very attracted to Zen (because after the I AM realisation one feels authenticated by these texts easily) but to realise non-dual and no-self, you contemplate on something different, as stated here On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection -- this is not to say R.M. or Zen only reached Stage 1 but that they emphasize a lot on leading practitioners to the I AM realisation first, which is an important realisation btw and paves the way to further realisations, but it is clear that even they do not stop at Stage 1 - I AM -- see R.M.'s explanation of 'Brahman is the World' (scroll to the bottom: for instance, though many of them, many Zen masters included, stop at Stage 4 Non-Dual Brahman, though not always the case)

So this time, it is still the same non-dual self-knowing presence as I AM, except that its nonseparation is the non-separation of you and mountain. There is no sense of being an outside observer apart from the mountain. No sense of standing back from the mountain. No sense of distance at all from 'you' and 'mountain', 0 distance, just as you feel 0 distance with the I AM Presence. When you see this (when there is no 'you' to see this), then any sense of subtle localization at all, whether somewhere in your body-mind, somewhere in your head, completely dissolves, and you no longer feel you are looking out from yourself through your eyes at the mountain, and there is Just mountain itself, self-aware, self-felt. Just non-localized Presence pervading and not separate from all phenomena. This is the meaning of 'body-mind drop off'. So there is sound, taste, touch, but no sense of a separate hearer, taster, feeler, etc. You enter (well not exactly 'enter' since it is not a stage, but rather to realised it as always already so) the mode of being/seeing where there is just mountain self-aware of itself. So again it is the same self-aware Presence as I AM, but except this time it is self-aware Presence as Sound, Taste, Touch, Smells, Sight, even Thought. Everything reveals itself as Pure Non-Dual Presence. And I emphasize again, that this must arise as an Insight into the nature of reality, and is not an altered state of experience or a meditative state, just as the I AMness is not something induced by meditation but is something that is very fundamental as the nature of reality itself, already always so.

The sense of The Center dissolves and Presence turns out to be everything -- everything is a center, a point of luminous clarity, a manifestation of buddha-nature.

This is what is meant by the analogy given by Thusness:

The first 'I-ness' stage of experiencing awareness face to face is like a point on a sphere which you called it the center. You marked it.

Then later you realized that when you marked other points on the surface of a sphere, they have the same characteristics. This is the initial experience of non-dual. Once the insight of No-Self is stabilized, you just freely point to any point on the surface of the sphere -- all points are a center, hence there is no 'the' center. 'The' center does not exist: all points are a center.

After then practice move from 'concentrative' to 'effortlessness'. That said, after this initial non-dual insight, 'background' will still surface occasionally for another few years due to latent tendencies.

So at this point, since there is no more sense of The Center, it is as Dan Berkow says:


What has happened to the awareness previously situated as "the observer"? Now, awareness and perception are unsplit. For example, if a tree is perceived, the "observer" is "every leaf of the tree". There is no observer/awareness apart from things,
nor are there any things apart from awareness. What dawns is: "this is it". All the pontifications, pointings, wise sayings, implications of "special knowledge", fearless quests for truth, paradoxically clever insights -- all of these are seen to be unnecessary and beside the point. "This", exactly as is, is "It". There is no need to add to "This" with anything further, in fact there is no "further" - nor is there any "thing" to hold on to, or to do away with.


Not using "I AM", and instead referring to "pure awareness", is a way to say the awareness isn't focused on an "I" nor is it concerned with distinguishing being from not-being regarding
itself. It isn't viewing itself in any sort of objectifying way, so wouldn't have concepts about states it is in -- "I AM" only fits as opposed to "something else is", or "I am not". With no "something else" and no "not-I", there can't be an "I AM" awareness. "Pure awareness" can be criticized in a similar way - is there "impure" awareness, is there something other than awareness? So the terms "pure awareness, or just "awareness" are simply used to interact through dialogue, with recognition that words always imply dualistic contrasts.

Even the notion of 'Consciousness' as I mentioned earlier as something granduer, something more ultimate than transient manifestation, eventually the notion is dropped (it is already naturally implicit in/as everything without needing to make it an ultimate reality), as Greg Goode puts it:

once experience doesn't seem divided and once it doesn't seem like there is anything
other than consciousness, then the notion of consciousness itself will gently and peacefully dissolve.

And then, even if this non-dual is clearly seen through, not to mistake that this is the end of the path. This is just Stage 4. There are further insights, which do not in any way deny the vividness and clarity of Presence but provides clearer insight into the nature of that Presence (i.e. the insights of anatta, emptiness, interdependent origination, etc)

It will not be easy to understand or be convinced about non-duality, let alone anatta and emptiness, until you have a real taste, glimpse, and hopefully a 'decisive realisation' beyond mere glimpses that will make this as clear as cloudless sunlit sky, just as once you had a clear taste of I AMness it is not going to be something that can be doubted. Eventually the clinging to Pure Subjectivity dissolves when the last trace of it being more ultimate than something else dissolves, and it happens on its own accord when the insight manifests.
I think that “the sense of observation” is a fine way to put it; as you are certainly aware of this observing that seems to be going on. Yet, at the same time, you cannot quite seem to put your finger on what, or who, is looking,

As Lin Chi has said, “Who is this fellow going in and out of my eyes? “

However, I do agree with Krishnamurti in this way, that when speaking about I Am, the observed being the I Am is also the observer, but of one piece.

Yet, we must not take this as dualistic, just because language has a propensity to lean us in this direction. I believe that Krishnamurti was speaking of a more 'Intrinsic Knowing,' which isn’t actually broken up into pieces like observer and observed. You might rather say that, the I Am knows its self to be the I Am, and all that that entails, simply by being its self.
Krishnamurti never talks about I AM. Observer is observed can mean two things: the I AM is Self-Knowing without subject-object division, or it could mean that the sense of an observer turns out to be none other than everything that is experienced such that there is no trace of an observer apart from these sights, sounds, etc. This is what he meant (the 2nd one). He is always talking about Non-Duality in that sense -- the non-duality of thinker and thought, seer and scenery, hearer and sound, etc. And his insight on that matter (non-dual, and anatta) is subtle but seldom do people understand him.

For example:

You look at this magnificent tree and you wonder who is watching whom and presently there is no watcher at all. Everything is so intensely alive and there is only life, and the watcher is as dead as that leaf... Utterly still... listening without a moment of action, without recording, without experiencing, only seeing and listening... really the outside is the inside and the inside is the outside, and it is difficult, almost impossible to separate them. (p. 214)

So we are asking is there a holistic awareness of all the senses, therefore there is never asking for the 'more'. I wonder if you follow all this ?. Are we together in this even partially? And where there is this total - fully aware - of all the senses, awareness of it - not you are aware of it.... the awareness of the senses in themselves - then there is no centre - in which there is awareness of the wholeness. If you consider it, you will see that to suppress the senses... is contradictory, conflicting, sorrowful.... To understand the truth you must have complete sensitivity. Do you understand Sirs? Reality demands your whole being; you must come to it with your body, mind, and heart as a total human being..... Insight is complete total attention....
When this is a fact not an idea, then dualism and division between observer and observed comes to an end. The observer is the observed - they are not separate states. The observer and the observed are a joint phenomenon and when you experience that directly then you will find that the thing which you have dreaded as emptiness which makes you seek escape into various forms of sensation including religion - ceases and you are able to face it and be it.

- Collection of K teachings from the KFT CDROM

Watch what is happening inside you, do not think, but just watch, do not move your eye-balls, just keep them very, very quiet, because there is nothing to see now, you have seen all the things around you, now you are seeing what is happening inside your mind, and to see what is happening inside your mind, you have to be very quiet inside. And when you do this, do you know what happens to you? You become very sensitive, you become very alert to things outside and inside. Then you find out that the outside is the inside, then you find out that the observer is the observed.

- Pg 36, K on education

As long as there is the thinker and the thought, there must be duality. As long as there is a seeker who is seeking, there must be duality. As long as there is an experiencer and the thing to be experienced, there must be duality. So duality exists when there is the observer and the observed. That is, as long as there is a centre, the censor, the observer, the thinker, the seeker, the experiencer as the centre, there must be the opposite.

- Talks by Krishnamurty in India 1966 p.72

Liberation is not an end. Liberation is from moment to moment in the understanding of 'what is'-when the mind is free, not made free.

- Krishnamurti's Talks 1949-1950 (Verbatim Report)
...India p.22

Are not the thinker and his thought an inseparable phenomenon? Why do we separate the thought from the thinker? Is it not one of the cunning tricks of the mind so that the thinker can change his garb according to circumstances, yet remain the same? Outwardly there is the appearance of change but inwardly the thinker continues to be as he is. The craving for continuity, for permanency, creates this division between the thinker and his thoughts. When the thinker and his thought become inseparable then only is duality transcended. Only then is there the true religious experience. Only when the thinker ceases is there Reality. This inseparable unity of the thinker and his thought is to be experienced but not to be speculated upon. This experience is liberation; in it there is inexpressible joy.

- Authentic Report of Sixteen Talks given in 1945 & 1946 ...p.14.
Here's a video that Thusness and I found very interesting. I think what is said in this video lines up well with the Buddhist teaching of Emptiness.

It also reminds me of an article written by Longchen:

The non-solidity of existence

This article describes a spiritual insight. It may be quite hard to understand.

The things that we experience are registered by all the sense organs. The eye sight registers vision, the ears register sound, the body registers sensations. These perception, sensations and experiences are not happening in some places. They are the experience of the arising of certain conditions. There is no solidity and physicality in the actual experience.

What we experienced is not universal and common to all. Here's an example to illustrate that: We know that as human beings, we see in term of colours. Some animals are however colour-blind, thus they see differently from us. But none of us, is really seeing the truth nature directly. The senses of different species of sentient beings experience things differently. So who is seeing the real image of an object? None.

Likewise, the various planes of existence are due to different conditions arising. In certain types of meditation, one is said to be able to access these planes of existence. This is because they are not specific locations. They are mental states and are thus non-localised. In these meditations, our consciousness changes and 'aligned' more with these other states or planes of existence.

All the planes of existence are simultaneously manifesting, but because our senses are human-based conditioned arisings, we only see the human world and other beings that shared 'similar' resonating arising conditions. But nevertheless, the other planes of existences are not elsewhere in some other places.

What we think of as places are really just consciousness and there is no solidity whatsoever. Even our touch sense is just that. The touch sense gives an impression of feeling something that is physical and three-dimensional. But there is really no solid self-existing object there. Instead, it is simply the sensation that gives the impression of physical solidity and form.
OK, that all I can think of and write about this topic. I will revise and improve this article where the need arises.

For your necessary ponderance. Thank you for reading.

These articles are parts of a series of spiritual realisation articles .