André A. Pais
André A. Pais The source of manifestation? Do you mean God or Brahman?

What if the manifestation is sourceless?

· Reply · 1d
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson No, your essence of Mind; subconscious creative matrix.

· Reply · 1d
André A. Pais
André A. Pais Mind, Brahman, God, awareness, Self, source... It's all the same...

Reification of some principle, substance or thing.

· Reply · 1d
Catrin Pichler
Catrin Pichler Neither substance nor thing - and not no-thing too...😉

· Reply · 1d
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson André A. Pais it’s not a reification but rather is an effort at a conceptual description of that which transcends any form of reification.

· Reply · 1d
André A. Pais
André A. Pais Exactly, Catrin. I just think that Jax tends to lean towards "thingness" a bit to much... ;)

Jackson, "the source of manifestation" is a rather poor effort in trying to express the inexpressible... It lends itself to very obvious essentialist interpretations.


· Reply · 1d
André A. Pais
André A. Pais My own (poor) effort went like this, a few days ago..

No source exists
that is itself uncaused;
A caused source
is no source at all.
And since a vacant source
has no meat in its womb,
Beginningless is the dance
of luminous causality.

· Reply · 1d · Edited
André A. Pais
André A. Pais The very idea of a source, or a first beginning, is itself rather problematic...

· Reply · 1d
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson André A. Pais yes, of course the “idea” is problematic, not how it is. 😉

· Reply · 1d
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson André A. Pais casualty can’t be because “nothing” has arisen, yet that “nothing” seems to be always arising! How magical! The natural order and perfection of detail infused as each depth of perception, thought and experience, self-reveals a profound intelligence pervading at every hierarchy.

· Reply · 1d
André A. Pais
André A. Pais Intrinsic intelligence is undeniable to me. That it arises from a source is not, imo. Or that it amounts to a cosmic, global mind is troublesome too.

Causality is a conventional term, I'll grant you that. It points to the flux of things, in which there is actually no things at all. But it is rather safer, for me, than the idea of a source or untouched awareness. It is more in line with the luminous flux of experience and the logical reasonings of Madhyamaka. Your words are more in line with identity views.

· Reply · 1d
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson André A. Pais not really, because the flux is all there is, but it’s self-organizing capacity at every level implies and insists on some kind of inherent order. When we look into the flux itself as thoughts, images, perceptions and sensations; in deep meditation, their material solidity vanishes leaving only a brilliant “knowing awareness”. Do this investigation yourself. Look at each perception , thought, color, sound and sensation. All that remains is an empty awareness that was itself appearing AS perceptions, thoughts, colors, sounds and sensations. It’s non-dual. Waves, currents and whirlpools are all H2O appearing as waves, currents and whirlpools. In this case H2O is “empty awareness” itself that’s appearing! Emptiness is form and form is emptiness.

· Reply · 1d
André A. Pais
André A. Pais I have no problem with your description. But when appearances totally vanish, do you posit awareness as remaining?

· Reply · 1d
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson André A. Pais notice for yourself! Look! 👀It requires no “positing”. 😉

· Reply · 1d
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu When all gross thoughts and sensations disappear, there is an undeniable sense of Presence or Beingness. But this too is an appearance no more special than other appearance. They have the same taste. Empty and luminous.

· Reply · 13h · Edited
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson Soh Wei Yu yes, but what is an appearance? What is it that knows an appearance is empty of inherent existence?

· Reply · 4h
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu Knowingness is always appearance only. Fully manifest, nothing hidden.

· Reply · 4h · Edited
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson Soh Wei Yu what is the nature of this knowingness while appearing as this sound or this color; can and does appear as infinite varieties of appearances all interacting in perfect precision? What assures this precision, or that gravity and entropy remain as standard features affecting all appearances? Do these intrinsic qualities of all phenomena, adhere to the knowingness or to the appearances? If either, aren’t you committing to inherent characteristics? We do say there are indeed inherent characteristics of the Buddha Nature like a fundamental “goodness” and luminosity, and knowingness.

· Reply · 3h
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson Soh Wei Yu The Three Wheels of Buddha’s Teachings

The first course of his teaching concerned recognizing the nature of samsara is itself a dissatisfaction. He then proceeds to describe how this samsara arises and how it can come to cessation. This concerned having a correct “view” of the nature reality and experience.

The second course of his teachings concerned realizing the thoroughly empty nature of all phenomena and the self that seems to exist as a perceiver; as both being real, objectively existing phenomena. The focus is upon realizing that both a self and an objective world are merely conceptual constructions never existing outside of a mental process, which is their actual empty nature. All phenomena, including a self, are never more than the thoughts configuring them. Seeing the empty nature of a single thought as being an ungraspable appearance like a cloud in the sky, reveals the self and all phenomena to be only empty thoughts that vividly appear but without any solid features that can be grasped. This wisdom of the empty nature of all phenomena is called “prajna”.

The third course of the Buddha’s teachings revealed the Buddha Nature, as being the wisdom consciousness which all appearances and thoughts actually are. The third course assured an incorrect, nihilistic view of the second course of emptiness teachings, doesn’t occur. Self and phenomena are indeed empty of inherent existence, as being only thought constructions, but yet are manifestations of a very deep and profound Buddha Nature, which is always present changelessly, as current awareness. All phenomena are known to be this aware Buddha Nature itself. Nothing is inanimate, all is Buddha Consciousness appearing, while never actually arising as “anything objectively real” due to their insubstantial emptiness as being merely thought constructions. Thoughts are also this empty, yet appearing, Buddha Nature.

Investigating into the most essential quality of this Buddha Nature itself, reveals it as being an undefinable emptiness, yet a matrix of infinite wisdoms and a fundamental “goodness” that exceeds all conceptual descriptions of thought itself.

Knowing directly one’s ultimate nature as being this Buddha Nature, as the empty Ground of Awareness, is a non-conceptual gnosis or wisdom called jnana or rigpa.

All of Buddhism is contained within the non-dual wisdoms of prajna, as the wisdom of emptiness, and jnana as the wisdom of the Buddha Nature, which together transcend the extreme of nihilism and the extreme of inherently existing selves and phenomena.

· Reply · 3h
André A. Pais
André A. Pais Why would the Buddha teach for 45 years a form of Vedanta? Buddha nature, in your reading, is indeed Brahman.

· Reply · 3h
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu There is neither an existing Buddha nature on the subjective side nor things on the objective side that possess inherently existing characteristics. And these characteristics cannot be found apart from appearance. You can say or describe the Rose as red, but the redness of rose can neither be found to belong to the mind, the sense organs, Nor the object. A dog doesn’t see red. If we examine the quantum properties we see mostly space. Red is dependently originating and nowhere to be found in here, out there or in between, and yet it is an apt description of what’s appearing in the moment.

Awareness cannot be found apart from what’s appearing. There is no fixed changeless awareness remaining unchanged by appearance. When we say mind is appearance and that is vivid clarity, we are simply describing the realisation or taste of empty mind/appearance that is without division. We are not attributing anything to an inherently existing entity. There is nothing hiding anywhere, just vivid appearance. Awareness don’t “appear as”, as if there is a hidden underlying hidden substratum that can choose to show itself or not. We can say Buddha nature has characteristics but they are all simply descriptive and not assertive.

· Reply · 2h · Edited
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson Vedanta does not teach the empty nature of phenomena. However Buddha’s nirvana is probably identical to para-Brahman.

· Reply · 1h
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson Soh Wei Yu you avoided my pointed questions;
How can appearances arise as being dependent upon prior causes and conditions when no prior causes or conditions have ever arisen? And if something has actually arisen, then it has to be inherently existing and not impermanent. And then what is this quality that knows the redness of a rose isn’t a sound?

· Reply · 1h
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson And Soh, this group is about the emptiness teachings and Dzogchen view, not your view, which is far from Dzogchen view.

· Reply · 1h
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu Your view is 100% no different from Advaita. Shankara understands the world as illusory but not through the principle of dependent origination.

Shankara, "The world appears as if real only so long as Brahman which is the non-dual substrate of all has not been known . . . ([194],13)."

If there were truly existing causes and conditions and effects, then there can never be dependent origination as each would be distinct, concrete, independent of conditions, solid and separate. But because they do not truly arise as inherently existing entities, rowing the boat makes the mountain moves and the boat what it is, even if boat and mountain doesn't mean, they are totally exerted in seamless activity.
The question "what knows" is as flawed as the question "what rains" -- there is simply no 'it' that rains, apart from that rain dropping, falling.

Knowingness, awareness, is always simply the vivid clarity of appearance. There is nothing hidden behind appearance 'reflecting' appearance. Appearances are self-illuminating presencing. Knowing is simply a quality of experience like red is a quality of the experience we call 'rose', it doesn't belong to anything nor does it truly exist anywhere. There is no need to postulate an entity to which the qualities of illumination or knowing belong to. We do not say "what is it that salties" when we taste salty seawater, it's just a quality of experience and that saltiness cannot be found apart from that taste of seawater, nor does it belong 'inside' seawater, nor does it exist 'inside' our mind, or anywhere in between (as with the red rose).

The Dzogchen master Jigme Lingpa states,

"We hold that the outer object does not exist, and the awareness that apprehends it does not exist either."

Criticizing the substantialist nondual view, he further states,

"The awareness that realizes the apprehender and apprehended as nondual is a reflexive awareness and a reflexive luminosity. This is designated as truly existent. This is the alaya-vijnana. Actions and their result are based on it"

Another great Dzogchen master Mipham states,

"When the appearances of perceived objects is established as not having an essence separate from the perceiving subject, the appearance of the perceiving subject is also established as nonexistent. If [one wonders] why, it is because the perceiving subject is established in dependence upon the perceived object; it is never established on its own."

Another Dzogchen text states,

“Hey, hey, apparent yet nonexistent retinue: listen well! There is no object to distinguish in me, the view of self-originated wisdom; it did not exist before, it will not arise later, and also does not appear in anyway in the present. The path does not exist, action does not exist, traces do not exist, ignorance does not exist, thoughts do not exist, mind does not exist, prajñā does not exist, samsara does not exist, nirvana does not exist, vidyā (rigpa) itself does not even exist, totally not appearing in anyway.”
-- Unwritten Tantra

· Reply · 32m · Edited
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson Soh Wei Yu I already proved my case with the Kunje Gyalpo quotes that you still ignore as though you can translate Tibetan better than Jim Valby. Jigme Lingpa is not speaking about non-dual rigpa, he is using the word “namshe” for Awareness, which is a dualistic consciousness .

· Reply · 27m
Jackson Peterson
Jackson Peterson Soh Wei Yu you don’t understand that a moment of redness, is itself total omniscience.

· Reply · 23m
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu There are many quotes, including the above that I have posted, that are talking about the insubstantiality of rigpa, basis, etc.

The Six Dimensions Tantra states:

"Also, the aspects of the essence, nature, and compassion appear to the intelligent. Since the essence is not established at all, that nature clearly appears as the apparent aspect and the two pristine consciousnesses come from compassion's aspect having risen without action or agent."

Vimalamitra states,

"Since this (basis) is not established as existent or substantial, it also cannot be confirmed through any argument. Since it is not a blank emptiness, cognitive clarity arises manifesting as the essence of one's vidya."

He further states,

"Since this [basis] is not established as any sort of entity, it is free from a basis of designation. It is liberated naturally, meaning the moment it appears, there is nothing to adopt or reject, nor negate or prove."

The Self-Arisen Vidya Tantra states,

"Because there is nothing substantial that can be apprehended in the pristine consciousness of the pure dharmakaya, it is not designated as a possessor of signs. If there were a sign, the dharmakaya could be apprehended."

Arcarya Vimalamitra states,

"The basis, the state of initial original purity, is liberated because its essence is not established at all. Its nature appears as everything and its compassion arises in every way."

Realms and Transformations of Sound Tantra states,

"The mode in which the nature's light manifests
is white, red, yellow, green, and blue,
which are not signifying attributes.
The naturally perfect object of knowledge is free from attributes.
Other than compassion arising as a diversity,
it is not defined as one thing, "it is like this."
Because a diversity appears, it is called "the basis."

Self-Arisen Vidya Tantra also stated, "The nature is the unimpeded five lights."

It does not say that the basis is something which "apprehends" or "knows" the five lights. It is the five lights. Very importantly, the Dzogchen texts and tantras does not substantialize rigpa, basis in any way.

· Reply · 5m · Edited
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu And as for the 'source' you keep talking about, that too is nonexistent -

The Heap of Jewels Tantra states:

From the nonexistent empty source of phenomena
the primordial Adibuddha
has always turned the wheel of Dharma
as the intrinsic sound of empty dharmata
through the special pristine consciousness of vidya
without a beginning, middle, or an end.

Reading Kunjed Gyalpo led to Joel Agee's realization of anatta:

Joel Agee
I posted this on another list. Jackson suggested I post it here:

Here are two sentences from one of the oldest Dzogchen texts, The All-Creating Monarch (Kunjed Gyalpo) quoted in Longchenpa's Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding (Richard Barron's translation):

“Seek the location of the heart essence through phenomena that derive from it
and come to appreciate it through the skillful means of not conceptualizing in any way whatsoever.
Since the heart essence occurs naturally, dharmakaya is not elsewhere.”

Coming across these lines had a vividly awakening effect on me.
Like · · Unfollow Post · September 2, 2012 at 1:29pm

Dannon Flynn, Steven Monaco, Neony Karby and 6 others like this.

Joel Agee Simple but profound and ongoing: a deconstruction of an unconscious habit of locating awareness anywhere else than in the moment-to-moment transient phenomena. Whoosh! No observer, no witness. No location!
September 2, 2012 at 1:44pm · Unlike · 10


Joel Agee Chris, I'm not sure I can explain exactly. There's a frequent and delightful experience of being "confirmed" by sounds and sights, especially sounds. Greater appreciation of what shows up from moment to moment, a kind of energy of being available for anything. More spontaneous ease in action and speech and thought. But in a way this is all secondary. The recognition of awareness is unobstructed. Sometimes it seems to be obscured by thoughts and feelings, and then it's obvious that those too are the clarity and the emptiness. RIght now there's joy in seeing and saying this.
September 2, 2012 at 2:01pm · Like · 10


Joel Agee Chris, I think you’re missing part of the point in what Soh is talking about. Some concepts are held to be self-evident, so we never question or even notice them. For instance, in my case until recently, the view that awareness was a) something, and b) somewhere. "Intellectually" I knew better, but in my unconscious organically based felt sense, that was an unquestioned reality until those words in the Kunjed Gyalpo jarred me out of that dream. So it’s not "just words," because words and concepts shape our experience when they are invested with belief. This is true even of simple figures of speech. What Jackson just wrote suggests, for instance, that Douglas’s term “Seeing” is itself misleading if left unexamined.
September 4, 2012 at 12:09am · Unlike · 4


Joel Agee I will try to describe what it is that rings true for me in Thusness’s words. I don’t have a theoretical preference for the early Buddhist teachings over the later ones, including Dzogchen. In fact I know very little about the Pali Canon. My approach isn’t conceptual or theoretical at all. I look directly into the nature of my own consciousness in silent, objectless sitting meditation – shikantaza if you will. Whatever doesn’t meet the test of direct experience holds no lasting interest for me.

Until fairly recently, the metaphor of the mirror and its reflections seemed a fitting image of my contemplative experience: that there is an unchanging, ever-present, imperturbable awareness that is the absolute ground and the very substance of phenomena, and that while this motionless, contentless awareness-presence is inseparable from the ceaseless coming and going of appearances, it also transcends everything that shows up, remaining untouched, unstained, absolute and indestructible.

A couple of years ago I discovered Soh’s blog, Awakening to Reality, and in it Soh’s account of his exploration of the Bahiya Sutta and the Zen Priest Alex Weith’s report on his realization of Anatta through practical application of the Bahiya Sutta. I saw then that Anatta was not fully realized in my experience. The illusory nature of a separate unchanging personal self had been seen through, but an unconscious identification with “Awareness” or “rigpa” had taken its place.

Since then, an unstoppable deconstruction of that impersonal background identity has been happening in my contemplation and in my daily life. There is still a noticeable attachment to the memory of that subtle Home Base. It shows up as a tendency to "lean back" from the unpredictable brilliance and dynamism of the moment into a static, subtly blissful background presence. But there is no longer a belief in an Awareness that is anything other than, or greater than, or deeper than, THIS sound, THIS smile or stirring of emotion, THIS glance of light. There is no Mirror that is not the reflections.

So the shift in my experience and practice is not a preference for one teaching over another. It’s an ongoing realization that direct contact with the grain and texture of moment-by-moment experience is what Dogen meant by “being awakened by the ten thousand things.”
January 2 at 3:20am · Unlike · 6

· Reply · 1m
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu Another famous Dzogchen master Mipham wrote,

"Without gaining certainty in primordial purity, merely an impassioned
thought of a ground that is neither existent nor nonexistent
will bring you nowhere. If you hold onto such a ground, which is
empty of both existence and nonexistence, as separate and established
by its own essence, whether it is called the inconceivable Self,
Brahma, Vis.n.
u, Īśvara, wisdom, etc., it is merely a different name
for a similar [mistaken] meaning. The abiding reality that is free
from the four extremes—the luminous clarity of the Great Perfection
which is realized reflexively—is not at all like that.9"

"Awareness (rig pa) and luminous clarity (’od gsal) are posited from
the aspect of appearance, but are not separate from emptiness. Also,
“emptiness” is not separate from appearance. In reality, unity alone
is suchness; it is thoroughly important that neither emptiness nor
appearance on its own is the great suchness, the consummate ultimate.
From here the essential points of all of Sūtra and Mantra are

"“The abiding reality is
the unity of appearance and emptiness from the beginning.”"

"From only the aspect of being free from constructs
The two are said to not be distinct;
In order to avert adherence to emptiness
Great bliss is taught in Mantra.
The nondual expanse of empty bliss
Is experienced through a manner
That is free from subject and object.
“Appearance” (snang ba), “clarity” (gsal ba), and “awareness” (rig pa)
Are the synonyms for this “bliss” (bde ba).47"

Mipham criticizes the interpretation of a non-empty Buddha-nature that
is truly established:

"Also by reasoned analysis, due to the essential point that Buddhanature
is essentially empty, it impartially appears in all aspects of
quality: it is suitable to be the suchness of mind, all-pervasive everywhere,
permanent as long as time, inconceivable. However, while not
empty of its own essence, being truly established it is completely
impossible to be the suchness of an extrinsic phenomenon, etc. It
also cannot be the outcome of ascertainment by the valid cognition
of ultimate analysis because the affirmation of something truly established
is not accurate as a handprint [result] of the analysis of all phenomena
lacking true existence—like darkness [arising] from light.
True establishment is not established by conventional valid cognition
either because even though [it may appear to be] truly established
from that [conventional] perspective, by merely that there is never an
ability to establish phenomena to be non-empty. Without being able
to be established by the two valid cognitions, the means of establishment
has gone the way of a [nonexistent] space-flower; therefore,
establishing this becomes meaninglessly tiresome.1"


Update: more Dzogchen quotations

The Dzogchen text Dochu says:

"The buddhas of the five great elements are manifest enlightenment, Pure Perfect Presence."

"The phenomena of mind and objects are understood to be the four extremes. Phenomena perceived without object and subject are primordial Mind, which transcends the domain of names and characteristics. For these reasons, everything of the animate and inanimate universe is included in the Body, Voice, and Mind of Pure Perfect (Presence)."

From Dzogchen text the Gyutrul says:

"The components of the vajra aggregates are known as the five perfect buddhas. All the many sense bases and constituentts are the mandala of bodhisattvas. Earth and water are Locana and Mamaki. Fire and wind are Pandaravasini and Tara. Space is Dhatvishvari. The three worlds are primordial enlightenment. Absolutely everything, without exception, is nothing other than the state of enlightenment. Buddha himself could never discover some phenomenon that is other than the state of enlightenment.

The Dzogpa Rangjung says:

In the universe as limitless as space, without any exceptions, all sentient beings of the three worlds and the varieties of forms that manifest in any way are the mandala of mudras. Whatever sounds are heard are the syllables of mantras. The multiplicity of mind's concepts are inconceivable millions of contemplations. Any and all good and bad actions are the deeds of buddhas. Absolutely everything everywhere, including everything animate, inanimate, and material, is the mandala of the victorious ones.

The Changchub Semkyi Do says:

In correspondence with this (space) example is the phenomenon called "meaning.". This meaning is "unborn". Because the essence of unborn (meaning) has no cause and cannot be produced, Presence has no cause and cannot be produced. Although existent phenomena are produced through causes, the meaning of "unborn" is that the space of (these existent) phenomena has no cause. All phenomena are unborn. "Unborn" refer to the manifest enlightenment of Pure Perfect (Presence).

The Choying Rinpochei Dzo says:

The signs are all the manifesting tsal energies. When these energies manifest, there is no ground of manifestation and no agent of manifestation. The name assigned to these manifestations is impartial, equal, all-encompassing "space".

Khenpo Zhenpen Oser:

Glorious Nagarjuna also understood the principle of essential knowledge, that all phenomena are totally interdependent and conclusively unborn.

The Dochu says:

Because all phenomena, however they appear, are primordially uncompounded, they abide as the real condition. Thus is explained the method of the real condition.
3 Responses
  1. Aditya Says:

    Lovely. The way I like to think of it is that "being" is a verb, not a noun. In other words, there is no being when it is not be-ing.

  2. Soh Says:

    Aditya, care to share what "being" means for you experientially?

  3. Aditya Says:

    Sure, though I admit there's a gap between my experience and my view, and that I may be speaking from a mishmash of the two.

    Early on, there was an experience of "being" in the sense of recognizing my core as uncreated light. I felt this matched up with what I'd learned about an eternal being in Vedanta.

    As I've investigated the "essence" of phenomena, it has seemed harder to draw a concrete distinction between that "core" and the nature of phenomena.

    So there's this suspicion that the core is just a reification, and that "being" refers to that very "property" by which anything at all (including "awareness") is known.