Also see: An Expansion on the Four Levels of Insight into Emptiness

Thusness had a casual discussion with me regarding the various phases of seeing through intrinsic-ness in experience:

Realizing the nature (i.e. non-arising, empty nature) of clarity is not the same as realizing clarity. Anatta can lead one to experience whatever arises/appearance as presence.

Presence is part of the journey. The practitioner goes through anatta and realizes what we called presence is just appearance. Then he must start
looking at absence. There are at least 4 levels of seeing through intrinsic-ness or the realizing of absence and anatta is just the beginning.

1. The emptiness (i.e. non-existence of a) background

2. Seeing foreground appearance as empty like mist or shimmering paint in
the pond but appearance is seen as arising, abiding and ceasing.

3. Seeing absence in vivid presence... means in clear vivid non-dual
appearance, realize it is never there at all. At this phase, there must
be complete conviction without the slightest doubt from logical
analysis in understanding why it is "never there". The article where I
asked you what is second fold... non-Arisen emptiness. (link:

4. Turn insight of non-arisen in 3 into a taste, otherwise the 2 mindstreams cannot become one... that is, mind stream of dependent arising and emptiness are like what Tsongkhapa said "mutually exclusive", no way to become one unless one reaches Buddhahood. This is because we do not know the key is in recognizing the taste of absence (i.e translate the logical and inferring consciousness into a taste).


It is fully and vividly present and in the midst of this clear presence/appearance, it is realized as absence. That is why there is no arising, abiding and ceasing - non-arisen.

When you hear music and just music, there is no hearer... no hearer is anatta (lvl 1), the beautiful music in clean transparency is non-dual appearance... when absence is seen only when music disappears like a disappearing mist then it is phase 2. If it is clearly heard in non-dual mode and simultaneously realized to be absence (without the music disappearing) then it is phase 3. Then entire being will be pervaded with deep sense of illusion-like spaciousness.

But all these are just -A. Next is to look at +A. It is exactly the same again but this round non-conceptual appearance and dependent arising is brought to be seen and understood at the conventional level.

So it is understanding the nature of experience...not just directly experiencing awareness.
After this practice is no practice... just complete non-dual releasing... natural and spontaneous. When essencelessness is thoroughly seen through, the way of practice can only be spontaneous presence and natural perfection. Essence/inherent is what that prevents one from being natural and spontaneous. But don't link it to Dzogchen... all these about spontaneous presence and natural perfection is simply thoroughness of knowing the habit and many faces of inherent tendencies... may be completely different from Dzogchen spontaneous presence.

So do you know why it must be in a state of non-dual presence...?

"Then at this moment of appreciating maha suchness of the breath, the sensations, the entire scenery, the entire world…

Understand that they are Empty!

Experience the magnificence then deeply understand that they are empty but this Emptiness has nothing to do with deconstruction nor reification nor do I mean they are simply impermanent. So what is this Emptiness I am referring to?"

It must be vividly present with all magnificence... why? Because if it is gone then it is not the phase 3 absence.
2 Responses
  1. Eric Dub Says:

    The link in this post (to an article that appears to also have been on this very blog) no longer works. Is that article still available for reference? Cheers

  2. Soh Says:

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks, I fixed the link.

    Please try