Thusness's reply to Yacine's post in Dharma Connection

Hi Yacine,

Both the talks and link you provided are pointing to a special kind of consciousness that I am familiar and was once very attached to (more than 3 decades ago). The experience is precious but still fabricated  One can trigger similar experience/phenomena through self-enquiry or koan which in my opinions are much more direct and effective.

Therefore I do not think Buddha is teaching that; contrary he taught the path to end that by realizing anatta, dependent origination and Emptiness.

Sounds pretty cool John.I think where the confusion pops from is that some approaches talk about the citta as a special kind of consciousness, ie a consciounesses not glued to any of the other khandas, a consciounesses released (the citta as Ajahn Maha Boowa calls it)

Pls see The non-dual teaching (say Rupert Spira talking about the fabrications of time in his classic video: would then be a pointer a skilful means but still with a slight subtle reification left (Greg Goode mentions the complete dissolution of awareness once memory is seen as no referential) ? I am mentioning that because Rodney Smith proposes such a nice pointer on his talk on mental fabrication in the DO series above.

ie this image of the dead center from which past and future (and stories) emerge as mental fabrications. In his book he talks about the vertical axis of timeless awareness (the unconditioned) and the horizontal axis of conceptual time and stories.And how with thoughts we invest the "Buddha inside" into (apparently) buying into the conceptions of the horizontal axis stretching self, object and time (as Rob Burbea would put it) out of the pure awareness, out of the Deathless.

That's a nice pointer I found but there is this reification of the dead center in it that might need complete deconstruction (thanks to emptiness). What's your take on that? (Sorry, too many questions at once lol)

Let’s take the below example:

“With the arising insight of anatta, self is seen through.  A new mode of perception arises.  A mode of perception that pierces through reification.”

Does this sound like the practitioner has now acquired “a new mode of perception” as if a third eye suddenly appears in between the eyebrows?

In truth nothing new has arisen; contrary it is a process of elimination.

What eliminated is the habitual tendency to “reify”.

Now using the same analogy, let’s look at “non-dual”?

It will be helpful to understand the 2 major causes that gave rise to such phenomena like awareness as an observer and non-dual awareness.  They are:

1. one's ability to suspense "conceptualization".
2. habitual tendencies to "reify" and "dualify"

Without conceptualization experience becomes direct, clean, clear, vivid, crystal, brilliance and transparent. 

Without the layer of conceptualization, there is no layer that separates observer from the observed.  If there is no insight that all along the subject-object division is assumed, then “non-dual” becomes a state and there is oscillation between duality and non-duality.  If there is realization of the emptiness of the “division”, then experiences turns effortlessly non-dual.

How does “non-dual awareness” arise?

It is the continuation of the habitual tendency to reify that objectifies the "clean, clear, vivid, crystal, brilliance and transparent" state of experience that is free from duality into non-dual awareness.  This also means that latent tendencies lie far deeper than surface conceptualization, mere cessation of conceptual thoughts is unable to overcome these tendencies.  

How is it to see "the world" from an arahant point of view? Without fabrication or rather with fabrication seen as fabrication and therefore divested from investment.Also some teaching say that freed consciousness is awareness and awareness bathes in the unconditioned, the Deathless (very similar to non-dual teaching ie what you're looking for your looking from it).

Would the unreified Deathless simply be seeing interdependence of all fabrication as emptiness itself ? (And of course the consciousness that cognizes emptiness has to be empty itself, dependent on seeing emptiness to co-arise) How do you see the Deathless fitting into this John?

Is untainted consciousness = non-dual awareness?

This brings out another point.  That is severing the habit of abstraction and generalization also implies ceasing the reified abstraction from flowing moment to moment.  For this is the cause of attachment.  If there is no "abstraction" that flows, there is no base for grasping and the rational of why there is no permanent soul that is reincarnated from life to life in Buddhism becomes clear.  Which is also why Buddha taught there is no self, only the 5 aggregates and no pure consciousness, only the 6 classes of consciousness that dependently originates with conditions (internal and external bases).

Saying untainted consciousness is non-dual awareness is no different from saying:

sound-consciousness is the same as eye-consciousness
mind-consciousness is same as body-consciousness.

When we conceptualize and abstract, it appears there is as if a pure consciousness that transcends conditions and it is the same consciousness throughout we are talking about in differing situations.  However for one that is free from abstraction and reification, the actual experience is completely different.  For them,

In hearing, whole body-mind-environment is that sound and what we termed as “sound-consciousness” is that “sound”. 

In seeing, whole body-mind-environment is that scenery and what we termed as “eye-consciousness” is that lurid and vivid scenery.

At this point, it is crucial to emphasize that when the trace of a background mirror vanishes without remainder, knowingness/presence is “form”.  Touch anything, feel anything, smell anything.  Vividness throughout, aliveness everywhere!  Poetically practitioners is eating “knowingness”, touching “knowingness” and tasting “knowingness” in real-time.  Zero effort, fully spontaneous!

‘Mind as mountains, rivers, and the earth is nothing other than mountains, rivers, and the earth. There are no additional waves or surf, no wind or smoke. Mind as the sun, the moon, and the stars is nothing other than the sun, the moon, and the stars.’

Shobogenzo, Soku-shin-ze-butsu

For non-dualists, it is always tempting to say non-dual awareness appearing as sound and scenery but sound is of course not and nothing like scenery.  We also can't say sound has changed to scenery.  Therefore dualistic consciousness cannot be said to be non-dual awareness yet neither are they different!

The language of forms and abstraction become clumsy and very often misleading when we deal with the nature of direct experience.  Fortunately Buddhism has quite creatively devised a tool that helps us see through conventions, dissolve reification and still not miss out the importance of conditionality (another big topic). As such it is advisable to sever this habit of abstraction by familiarizing oneself with dependent arising and emptiness when dealing with everyday conventions.

As a side note, in addition to the path of renunciation (dispassion/disenchantment), you may want to look at “grasping” from “energy being tied up in withholding mental constructs”.  Many seem unable to have an actual taste of the relationship between “grasping” and “reifying”, if this isn’t clear then the whole practice of anatta and emptiness (Buddhism) will not be very fruitful imo.

From this prespective, grasping is not holding on to reification, it is that reification!

This becomes very clear with the experiential insight of anatta.  When self is negated, the first obvious experience is “lightness” as if weight suddenly becomes a non-existence.  There is tremendous release and clarity.  If we negate the body-construct, for example, "there is no body, only sensations", the deconstruction of the image of a concrete body similarly led to a tremendous release.  Every deconstruction is a release (of energy) and experience turns more and more clean, pure, vivid, radiance and free.

 How is it to see "the world" from an arahant point of view?

From the example above, one may be able to extrapolate the experience.  For one that has severed self, experience is free, clean, radiance and non-dual.  Seen is just seen.  Heard is just heard.  Radiance all around and free!

As for "the deathless", I believe Soh has posted you a past discussion on the topic (see  I couldn't have put it better.

Lastly Yacine, for

Rodney Smith’s talk on mental fabrication in the DO series,  

Imo, the "NOW" radiating out is no different from "Self", deconstruct it.

There is no "here", just impression of "here" formed by sensations and thoughts.

No "now", just impression of the mere presence from appearances of thoughts, sound, shapes, colors, light.

The tendency to reify is amazing, we let go of 'selfness' yet unknowingly grasped ‘nowness’ and ‘hereness’.

All these are merely empty reifications, appear concrete but when directly tasted, are empty like evanescence mist.

Hope that helps!

Going to sleep, pen off.   

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