Taken from Dharma Conection

John Ahn:

Yes, there is no entity. But that is only half of the equation. One has to understand that there is also no contact. To me this is the distinction in the two phrases of anatta. Although we understand that in seeing there is no seer, it may not be as clear that in seeing, only the seen. So it's understood that there is really never any such thing as contact. No meetings ever take place. The experience of the human condition is revealed to be merely a series of impressions: sounds, colors, tactile sensations, smells, tastes, and symbols (meanings and conventionalities).

Impressions have no reality to them, they arise with conditions and disappear with conditions. We have to see this as impressions and not through dualistic cognition. Its impressions seeing impressions liberating impressions.

I do not have full experience with undirection. But so far in my path, the undirection comes when there is total unbinding at the deepest layers of habit, especially at the level of sensations which constitute embodiment. It's a mistake to somehow seek out undirection, because it is the ending of action. If one is still inclined to a state of decisions, actions, and effort, then thinking one is in a spontaneous state is a huge deception. Much practice is needed to undo the habitual patterning of embodied energy, which will continually create sense of physicality and relationships. If you are in a state of relationships, of this, that, here, now, etc then there will always be a a direction. To believe otherwise is, in my opinion, deceiving oneself.

Hence, sadhana.


Yes, but there is an element you are missing imo. The second phrase of the anatta insight is to see the dimensionless stand alone texture of awareness as sights, sound, taste, smell, touch, and concept. The self has to be deconstructed by seeing that there is merely manifestation, otherwise there is always a reference to a separateness. Whether it is watcher, I am, void, samadhi, or any other experience seen as more true than the flowing appearance.


And yes, there is no such thing as sense base and sense data in direct experience. Its all just arising and ceasing according to conditions.

If we don't apply the principle of dependent origination, we fall in "that-ness" which is how subject hides in object. In reinforcing no-self, the self hides in the effort and objectification, believing that there is no longer any engagement, but just "that." This is a subtle mistake because you can't just get rid of me from "me and that." Me and that are co arising. When the trifold structure of "me, that, and, me and that (action + contact)" dissolve upon insight, there is a very different experience of the sense spheres in that they begin to lose dimension.

They have to form, abiding, boundary, size, duration, etc. It is merely arising then gone like rainbows appear when there is light and water. The entire human experience is the arising and disappearing of such impressions as the 6 tastes. Anyway, that's just my experience and analysis.


In experience there is really no such thing as internal or external. That is just conventional framework of mind. You never experience anything internally or externally. There are only impressions of the sense spheres. Which at first is unbelievable because the framework of locality, individuality, and embodiment is so strong.

The teachings of how sense spheres arise dependently upon contact are to point to their emptiness which as an effect liberates one from the inherent view. This teaching really doesn't seem that important at first. Like, "hey, ok, so what? It's obvious stuff happens causally upon interaction..so why is there all this emphasis on dependent arising?"

But it takes a different effect when contemplated from the perspective of nondual experience and seeing the cause of how duality arises, namely through the view of inherence. The clear nondual visual field is experienced (as pointed out by Goran's post above) but it is not liberated into its empty nature. So contemplating its dependent arising is important here.

"We must accept that all are mere imputations but from the insight of anatta, not from the insight of substantialist view. "Phenomena" is understood differently from our general English usage, "phenomenon" in Buddhism in general is object possessing identifiable characteristic and therefore having essence that is findable.

However in Prasangika it is said that phenomena r merely names and imputations. But "mere" imputation in Prasangika cannot be understood apart from its dependencies. This dependency is key and is what dependent arising and emptiness are about. When Prasangika says that things or phenomena are just mere labels, names, designations or imputations, it is not as we understood in common English terminology, rather, it is to be understood from the perspective of dependent designations, not just designations. Without understanding this dependencies, we are not understanding what is meant by "mere designations".

That is, it is mere name/designation/imputation because the designated referent as an entity when sought can never be found apart from its basis of designation. This basic understanding must be there and must go into our inmost mindstream. And only direct insight of anatta can understand the significance. Therefore the non-conceptuality is not simply non-conceptuality as in freedom from labeling but a freedom from the blinding spell of seeing things in terms of 4 extremes from reified designations.

This extends to all phenomena be it conditioned or unconditioned phenomena.

As for non-conceptuality, there are fierce debates between Gorampa and Tsongkhapa. There is also Mipham's view of non-conceptuality but these masters agree that the mode of non-conceptuality is a very specific and special mode of intuitive insight that relates to freedom of extremes, not just imageless bare mode perception."
Thusness also wrote before:

"Don’t misunderstand the term “mere imputation” wrongly. It is very important to understand the term “mere” is very special in Prasangika. “Mere” and “cannot stand at its own side” are synonym. In other words, you can treat “mere” to mean “because the emptiness of phenomena is deep and the dependencies are profound, it cannot be expressed but called it ‘mere’”. Much like Tao cannot be expressed, very reluctantly, LaoTze named it Tao. It is completely opposite of our common usage like “don’t worry, it is merely a label”.

The very fact that phenomenon are empty of inherent existence means that phenomena are not existing at their own side therefore this “mere designation” cannot be eliminated in the ordinary sense; in fact there is no elimination, you can’t. To free it, one must see “Emptiness” and Dependent Origination. Because of the profundity, if one practice the inferring and reasoning path, there are various lines of reasoning like diamond silver, sevenfold reasoning, unfindable as one or many, four extremes and lastly of course, the king of reasoning Dependent Arising to guide the practitioners towards right understanding.

Thus this “mere imputation” can’t be overcome by deep shamatha concentration; can’t be overcome by ordinary non-conceptuality; can’t be overcome by non-thinking because it is “dependent” on its basis; it is not just a designation. Even the cessation of Nirodha-samapatti cannot do away with this “mere imputation” permanently.

In Prasangika, only the intuitive insight of prajna wisdom of both self/Self and Phenomena is able to break the chain of specific dependent origination because ignorance as the root cause of cyclical existence is severed.

Anyway just my 2 cents. Please read and understand with yor own insights and experiences. See you in Singapore!"

"Proliferation arises because whatever dependently arises is treated as true and real, not because it is non-conceptually or conceptually experienced. In fact when whatever arises is directly and non-conceptually
experienced, its brilliance and crystal clarity has stronger tendency of blinding us into treating it as true and real. This makes the mind grasped more and unwillingness to let go is stronger because it seems so real and undeniable."

"Not even being non-conceptuality can stop such tendencies becoz it is not just abt freedom from concepts."

"...But to me, as I started from a direct experience of presence, I do not c the need to put an end to conceptuality by way mmk ... That is MMK imo is much more than putting an end to conceptuality. It will b quite a clumsy technique if the sole purpose is to reach that as a goal. Zen koan, the two stanzas, vipassana bare attention, self enquiry are all more efficient and effective ways to achieve that goal. In fact after I got familiar why these techniques, I hv my own koan and techniques to trigger ppl into non-conceptual experiences...lol"


"…The process of eradicating avidyā 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."

Thubten Chodron:


We talked about one scheme of organizing the different types of dependent arising:

the causal dependence
then dependence on its parts which pertains also to permanent phenomena
and then the third one is dependent designation.

This third one means arising in dependence upon term and concept, which they also call existing by being mere name. What this means is that something doesn’t exist as a certain object until it is labeled by that name. The classic example they give which is very simple. It’s this: you didn’t become David until your parents labeled you David. The kitty didn’t become Manjushri until we labeled him Manjushri. The idea is that those things don’t exist as that particular object until they are labeled...

...It isn’t that things just totally vanish if they are not being labeled. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that everything we label actually exists. We can label “rabbit’s horn,” we can conceive of rabbit’s horn. We certainly conceived of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and labeled them. But just because there’s a term and concept, doesn’t mean that there’s an object. Why? Because you need not only the term and concept, but you need a basis of designation that is suitable to bear that label. What was there in Iraq? There was nothing suitable to bear that label. How about with the rabbit’s horn? The rabbits have ears but there’s nothing suitable to bear the label “rabbit’s horn.” It doesn’t mean that everything we label exists. Just as we learn that everything we think doesn’t exist either.
Consciousness is implied by sensations, but really there are just sensations. You could say that they contain "consciousness" in them, or you could say something like, "In the seeing, just the seen," which is a lot cleaner, if you ask me.
It is on ignorance that there are volitional formations, and on volitional formations depend consciousness, etc.
Thus, with the dissolution of ignorance, sensations are just as they are.
Sensations are utterly transient, so there no substantial thing to awaken in ultimate terms.
Instead, a process of identification and delusion stops, such that no longer do empty, transient, simple sensations create a fundamental illusion of a permanent, continuous, separate, perceiving self that could be liberated.
So, the question is ill-formed: it is not right to ask, "What is liberated?", and it is better to say, "Liberation occurs when a process of delusion stops," or, "Liberation occurs when clear perception of the way sensations always were occurs."
This is also useful, as it points to method, the method being clear perception of sensations.

- Daniel Ingram