Also see: The Transient Universe has a Heart
Vipassana Must Go With Luminous Manifestation
The Unbounded Field of Awareness
Fully Experience All-Is-Mind by Realizing No-Mind and Conditionality
Exertion that is neither self-imposed nor imposed by others
Actual Freedom and the Immediate Radiance in the Transience

Previously, I wrote:

The Sun Does Not Rise or Set

It's not often that I get to walk in dark places in Singapore, there's street lights everywhere. Yesterday I was walking somewhere that was dark and yet the light of boundless presence was so dazzling. Truly, there can be no darkness when your whole body-mind-universe is light, the light that 'outshines' all lights and darknesses, and yet is also none other than the lights and darknesses, the sounds and the silence.
Was reminded of a verse in the Upanishads, "Verily, for him who thus knows this Brahma—Upanishad, the sun does not rise or set. For him it is day for ever."
The other day I shared my experience on the boundless Light and quoted something from the Upanishads and was asked about the Buddhist sutras... I don't read much nowadays, but years ago especially during army time, I did study texts of all religions. I read thousands of pages. So here are just a few of those quotes I had in mind. Here's a compilation of some quotations from all major religions on "light".

Although the teachings may differ in many ways, there are some fundamental experiential similarities or patterns throughout, a kind of common denominator in religious experiences across different cultures and traditions. I am however, not a perennialist (I do not assert that all religions are the same). You seldom see me quote other religions or do comparisons, I prefer to talk about my own experience nowadays.

But hopefully, we can see that religions have much in common, and "light" is an important factor which all religions talk about.


"Luminous, monks, is the mind.[1] And it is defiled by incoming defilements." {I,v,9} "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements." {I,v,10}

"Consciousness which is non-manifestative,
Endless, lustrous on all sides,
It is here that water, earth,
Fire and air no footing find.

There the stars do not shine,
And the sun spreads not its lustre,
The moon does not appear resplendent there,
And no darkness is to be found there"

"Briefly stated, the Buddha's declaration amounts to the rev-
elation that the sun, the moon and the stars fade away before
the superior radiance of the non-manifestative consciousness,
which is infinite and lustrous on all sides."

"Though darkness gathers for a thousand eons.
A single light dispels it all.
Likewise, one moment of sheer clarity
Dispels the ignorance, evil and confusion of a thousand eons."

"The darkness of ages cannot shroud
The glowing sun; the long kalpas
Of Samsara ne’er can hide
The Mind’s brilliant light."

"" the sun shining in the blue sky - clear and
bright, unmovable and immutable... illuminating

"Since the Clear Light of your own intrinsic awareness is empty, it is the Dharmakaya;
and this is like the sun rising in a cloudless illuminated sky.
Even though this light cannot be said to possess a particular shape or form, nevertheless, it can be fully known.
The meaning of this, whether or not it is understood, is especially significant."

"Elevate your experience and remain wide open like the sky.
Expand your mindfulness and remain pervasive like the earth.
Steady your attention and remain unshakable like a mountain.
Brighten your awareness and remain shining like a flame.
Clear your thoughtfree wakefulness and remain lucid like a crystal."

"Emptying into the ocean of Mahamudra, the water becomes ever-expanding light that pours into great Clear Light without direction, destination, division, distinction or description."

"If, as in a dream, you see a light brighter than the sun, your remaining attachments will suddenly come to an end and the nature of reality will be revealed. Such an occurrence serves as the basis for enlightenment. But this is something only you know. You can’t explain it to others.
Or if, while you’re walking, standing, sitting, or lying in a quiet grove, you see a light, regardless of whether it’s bright or dim, don’t tell others and don’t focus on it. It’s the light of your own nature.
Of if, while you’re walking, standing, sitting, or lying in the stillness and darkness of night, everything appears as though in daylight, don’t be startled. It’s your own mind about to reveal itself.
Or if, while you’re dreaming at night, you see the moon and stars in all their clarity, it means the workings of your mind are about to end. But don’t tell others."


"No longer will the sun be your light by day, and the brightness of the moon will not shine on you; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your splendor. 20Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not wane; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will be over"

"I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22The eye is the lamp of the body. If your vision is clear, your whole body will be full of light."

"I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained.

Split a piece of wood; I am there.

Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."

“That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."

"As long as I am in the world, I am the world's Light."

"Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light."

"If they say to you, 'Where have you come from?' say to them, 'We have come from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image.'

If they say to you, 'Is it you?' say, 'We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living Father.'

If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your Father in you?' say to them, 'It is motion and rest.'"


"I wish I could show you, in times of darkness or despair, the incredible light of your own being"

"Your light is more magnificent than sunrise or sunset."

"One day the sun admitted, I am just a shadow: I wish
to show you the infinite incandescence!"

"The light which shines in the eye
is really the light of the heart.
The light which fills the heart
is the light of God*, which is pure
and separate from the light of intellect and sense."

"Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp,
The lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star,
Lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree,
Neither of the east nor of the west,
Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.
Light upon light.
Allah guides to His light whom He wills.
And Allah presents examples for the people,
and Allah is Knowing of all things."


"The light is neither inside nor outside the self. Mountains, rivers, sun, moon, and the whole earth are this light, so it is not only in the self. All the operations of intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom are also this light, so it is not outside the self. The light of heaven and earth fills the universe; the light of one individual also naturally extends through the heavens and covers the earth. Therefore, once you turn the light around, everything in the world is turned around."


"There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth, beyond us all, beyond the heavens, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in your heart.”

"Pure it is, the light of lights. This is what the knowers
of the Self know. The sun shines not there, nor the
moon and stars, there lightning shines not; where
then could this fire be? This shining illumines all
this world."

"Radiant is my heart. Spirit lives inside all that is and all that is not, the end of love longing, beyond understanding, the highest in all beings.

Self luminous in me rests all worlds and all beings. My head is fire. My eyes, the sun and moon - my ears - heaven, sacred images and prayers - my words, my breath - the wind, the whole universe, my heart. The earth - my imagination.

I am the spirit in all things. I am beyond the world of desire, sorrow is left behind. I embrace joy. My self is smaller than the smallest atom, greater then the largest spaces. I am infinite and I am no-thing.

No matter what - I keep my heart quiet and calm in the tenderness of love. Love is the living breath of my soul. I find joy in the eternal."

“It is palpably obvious, and yet, from the time we were born, no one has pointed this out. Once it is pointed out it can be grasped or understood very quickly because it is just a matter of noticing, ‘Oh, that is what I am!’ It is a bright, luminous, empty, presence of awareness; it is absolutely radiant, yet without form; it is seemingly intangible, but the most solid fact in your existence; it is effortlessly here right now, forever untouched. Without taking a step, you have arrived; you are home.“

“all things arise in awareness and never exist apart from awareness. It is all one substance, all one light; it is all that; it is non-duality. There is nowhere to go and nothing to obtain. Everything is resolved. We ‘live, move, and have our being’ in that one ocean of light and never, ever move away from that.”

"There was this light that became brighter and
brighter and brighter, the light of a thousand suns...
This brilliant light, of which I was the center and
also the circumference, expanded through the
universe, and... this light shone so bright, yet it was
beautiful, it was bliss, it was ineffable, indescribable."

Verily, for him who thus knows this Brahma—Upanishad, the sun does not rise or set. For him it is day for ever."


"The Adi Granth makes frequent reference to the human encounter with a Divine Light: "God, being Truth, is the one Light of all.” God"shines out in His own splendour.”Moreover," His brightness shineth forth"With"The blaze of the splendour dazzling like the sun.”5

Guru Nanak added more on this issue in other writings. For Nanak, God is"The light of all light.”The light of God"Illumines land and seas.”God is"The embodiment of light; the lamps of the sun and moon and all their light emanate from Him....”God is"pure light" ... the"ever pure light.”This"All-wise Being of light sits on the throne eternal.”God's light is"Infinite," and God Himself"Is immaculate and all light.”6

The Adi Granth also makes it clear that this Divine Light can be found within one's self: "The Eternal Light indwells in the human mind, and the human mind is the emanation of that light.” Further," the best light is the Light of God in the heart.” Ultimately, the Sikh aspirant wishes to be immersed in the Divine light, as was Guru Nanak: "As waves blend with water, so my light is blended with the Lord's Light.”7

Nanak goes on to say that"In Thy creatures is Thy light...”; indeed," in every heart there is the same light....”In this ultimate union," our light blends with the light eternal," and Nanak encourages followers to"merge your light with the light eternal.” As the guru himself would put it,

within every body
Is the Lord hidden;
within every body
Is His light.
Searching his body, his home,
By the master's instructions one finds
the Name revealed within. 8 "


“A mirror has a clean light that reflects everything as it is. It symbolizes the stainless mind of the kami, and at the same time is regarded as a sacred symbolic embodiment of the fidelity of the worshipper towards the kami.”

"In ancient scriptures magokoro was interpreted as 'bright and pure mind' or 'bright, pure, upright, and sincere mind.' Purification, both physical and spiritual, is stressed even in contemporary Shinto to produce such a state of mind. The achievement of this state of mind is necessary in order to make communion between kami and man possible and to enable individuals to accept the blessings of kami."

Baha-i Faith

"O friends of God, verily the Pen of Sincerity enjoineth on you the greatest faithfulness. By the Life of God, its light is more evident than the light of the sun! In its light and its brightness and its radiance every light is eclipsed. We desire of God that He will not withhold from His cities and lands the radiant effulgence of the Sun of Faithfulness. We have directed all in the nights and in the days to faithfulness, chastity, purity, and constancy; and have enjoined good deeds and well-pleasing qualities.   (Abdu'l-Bahá, A Traveller's Narrative, p. 46)


TJ: My familiarity with some of these traditions leads me to believe that they are describing actual experiences of light in deep meditative absorption, rather than using light as a metaphor for the nature of consciousness.
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu: Which tradition do you speak of?

Actually all religious traditions including Buddhism experience seeing white lights and other lights in meditation. It is very common and what Daniel calls a&p. most spiritual practitioners, including myself experiences it at some point. However such visionary experiences are not the more crucial point of religion. Though it is by far the most common spiritual experience, more so than any deeper realisations.

But when it comes to the mystics realization, including figures like Shankara, Jesus Christ, or any of those Islamic mystics, and so on, it’s very clear from the scriptures that they are talking about the divine Presence from realising Presence/Consciousness. E.g. Jesus said, Before Abraham was, I AM
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TJ: As for Christianity, Jesus did say "Before Abraham was, I AM", but there is no light metaphor here. And no Christian since has claimed that that statement also applies to him or her, they say "Jesus was unique", even the most mystical and spiritually developed Christians. They strove for imitation of Christ or union with Christ, not being Christ. Now, a something Jesus did say about the experience of light is "If the eyes be one, the whole body is full of light". Anyone familiar with yoga would recognize this as referring to prana entering the central channel at the third eye - ie. an experience of absorption.

As for Hinduism, you are familiar with the distinction between the Samkhya-Yoga school and the Vedanta school, no? In the Samkhya-Yoga system, the goal is not realizing you are Brahman as in Vedanta, but union with Ishvara (God) by attaining the highest meditative absorption, Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Ramana, for instance, emphasizes that the Samadhi of knowing your true nature that he taught is different from the Nirvikalpa Samadhi of the Samkhya-Yoga school.

If you look at first person descriptions of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, they emphasize going from more basic experiences of light (which, as you said, are very common and not necessarily indicative of high level attainment) to the experience of complete absorption in an oceanic experience of light, to complete absorption in an oceanic experience of black/nothing, and even beyond that to seeing your "true self" in meditation as an actual being you see that looks like you, but also like Krishna or Vishnu or whomever you resonate with. For instance, Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, Paramahamsa Yogananda's guru's guru, described this in detail in his personal diaries. So you can see that the emphasis is completely different than the realization of a foundational consciousness of pure knowing-being underlying all states as your "true self".

The descriptions of the higher levels of Daoist meditation that I have seen are similar to Samkhya-Yoga - accessing increasingly rarefied levels of energy and wiring them into your body so that eventually, your Original Spirit can take residence in your body. Actually, this is what seems to me to be common to all religions - ascension up a "great chain of being". Huston Smith, the great scholar of comparative religion, opined that the thing the mystical paths of all religions have in common is a "great chain of being" (for instance something like God -> angels/devas -> humans -> animals -> demons) and the spiritual path being a kind of ascension up this chain of being. Indeed, this is in Buddhism too as the 31 planes of existence, to be traversed through samadhi. As you know, many forms of Buddhism de-emphasize this and instead focus on insight, and modern people are much more open to this, because it doesn't require believing in anything supernatural. But my point is Buddhism (and Vedanta ) are somewhat unique in having this insight comonent at all in addition to or instead of progressing through higher and higher levels of samadhi.
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:I'm not sure if you are familiar with Ken Wilber, but he discusses the great chain of being (highly recommend "A Brief History of Everything" which I read more than a decade ago)

What you call the oneness with deity experience is called the Fulcrum 8, subtle mysticism. The I AM realization is Fulcrum 9. Non Dual would be Fulcrum 10 which is not a separate fulcrum but the "suchness" of all conditions. (This Non Dual described by Ken Wilber corresponds to my "One Mind")

Although Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya may have practiced and reached the culmination of Fulcrum 8 deity/subtle mysticism maybe as an interim to the even higher Fulcrums, I do not think that is his final/main aim. He is quoted as saying, "Through delusion you are perceiving yourself as a bundle of flesh and bones, which at best is a nest of troubles. Meditate unceasingly, that you quickly behold yourself as the Infinite Essence, free from every form of misery. Cease being a prisoner of the body; using the secret key of Kriya, learn to escape into Spirit." -- Beholding yourself as the Infinite Essence is talking about the I AM realization. Not a kind of 'form absorption'.
Yes, there is a great chain of being involved, but I think you are underestimating the number of people who get the I AM realization. It is actually quite common in all traditions not limited to Advaita Vedanta or Kashmir Shaivism, but also Christian Mysticism, Islamic Sufism, Judaist Kabbalah, etc. They all talk about it.

Even our country's founding father Lee Kuan Yew got Self-Realization and his realization was confirmed by a Christian/Catholic contemplative order monk -- , obviously they know what he's talking about.

Just last week one of the most influential and famous modern Christian mystic, Father Thomas Keating, passed away.

 Here's some of his writings --

“in what has become his manifesto on centering prayer, Open Heart, Open Mind, Fr. Keating provides:
God and our true self are not separate. Though we are not God, God and our true self are the same thing.”

“In this video, Fr. Keating says the essence of the spiritual life can be summed up in these three steps:
1. “The realization… that there is an Other, capital O.”
2. “To try to become the Other, still capital O.”
3. “The realization that there is no Other. You and the Other are one… always have been, always will be. You just think that you aren’t.””

“For Fr. Keating, prayer is a “journey to the true self”—the realization that we are God. And the key for this realization to occur is for the Christian to empty himself of all rational activity. He must make his mind an absolute void.
In Open Mind, Open Heart, we discover the essence of this “prayer”:
If you are aware of no thoughts, you are aware of something and that is a thought. If at that point you can lose the awareness that you are aware of no thoughts, you will move into pure consciousness. In that state there is no consciousness of self. . . . This is what divine union is. There is no reflection of self. . . . So long as you feel united with God, it cannot be full union. So long as there is a thought, it is not full union (73-74).”

Shinzen Young:

“The Christian mystics will often talk about the soul merging with God. Based on the words alone you might think that what they’re describing is quite different from the Hindu or Buddhist adepts. As far as I can see it’s part of the same re-engineering of the human. For example when St. Theresa of Avila talks about merging with God she says 'it’s like water and water.' But then she also says 'the self-forgetting is so profound it seems as though the soul no longer exists.' When a Roman Catholic in the sixteenth century says, 'when you merge with God it seems like your soul doesn’t exist anymore,' it is an extraordinary statement.

St. Theresa’s description of the contemplative path not only passed the test of orthodoxy, it has become orthodoxy! It is the standard map in the Roman Catholic tradition of the Christian meditative and contemplative path. So we can see that the Buddhist no-self model can be interpreted as akin to some of the things that St. Theresa says.”
Lee Kuan Yew in conversation with Laurence Freeman OSB
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:The famous 13th century Christian mystic among many other Christian mystics Meister Eckhart clearly describes the I AM realization:

Meister Eckhart, Sermon 60 wrote:
I have sometimes spoken of a light that is in the soul, which is uncreated and uncreatable. I continually touch on this light in my sermons: it is the light which lays straight hold of God, unveiled and bare, as He is in Himself, that is, it catches Him in the act of begetting. So I can truly say that this light is far more at one with God than it is with any of the powers with which it has unity of being. For you should know, this light is no nobler in my soul's essence than the humblest, or the grossest of my powers, such as hearing or sight or any other power which is subject to hunger or thirst, cold or heat, and that is because being is indivisible. And so, if we consider the powers of the soul in their being, they are all one and equally noble: but if we take them in their functions, one is much higher and nobler than the other.

Therefore I say, if a man turns away from self and from all created things, then—to the extent that you do this—you will attain to oneness and blessedness in your soul's spark, which time and place never touched. This spark is opposed to all creatures: it wants nothing but God, naked, just as He is. It is not satisfied with the Father or the Son or the Holy Ghost, or all three Persons so far as they preserve their several properties. I declare in truth, this light would not be satisfied with the unity of the whole fertility of the divine nature. In fact I will say still more, which sounds even stranger: I declare in all truth, by the eternal and everlasting truth, that this light is not content with the simple changeless divine being which neither gives nor takes:

rather it seeks to know whence this being comes, it wants to get into its simple ground, into the silent desert into which no distinction ever peeped, of Father, Son or Holy Ghost. In the inmost part, where none is at home, there that light finds satisfaction, and there it is more one than it is in itself: for this ground is an impartible stillness, motionless in itself, and by this immobility all things are moved, and all those receive life that live of themselves, being endowed with reason. That we may thus live rationally, may the eternal truth of which I have spoken help us. Amen.
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:Different Samkhya teachers teach differently, but according to this site and many others, , Samkhya practice is described as a process of 'retracing consciousness' back to the Source, to realize Purusha (which is Pure Consciousness) and therefore attain Self-Realization. The only difference between Samkhya and Advaita Vedanta is that in Samkhya, each person has its own individual Purushas while in Advaita Vedanta, Pure Consciousness is cosmic one without a second. (as I wrote in my e-book, I AM has many phases and one has to go through impersonality to experience a cosmic universal self or God, prior to that the I AM is similar to Samkhya's Purusha)

Taoism is usually not about Awareness teachings (I think its practices are mostly on dropping self into a state of oblivion and nondual spontaneity in line with the Tao), however, a Taoist teacher gave Thusness his koan "Before birth, Who am I?" that led to his self-realization. The Taoist text Secret of the Golden Flower translated by Thomas Cleary is clearly an Awareness text focused on turning around the light. That was also the text I quoted the "light" quotation from.
Prakriti and its Evolutes: Sankhya-Yoga Practice of…
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:Other than the I AM realization, for the mystics a lot of emphasis is placed on submission/surrendering to God, so that when self dissolves, everything becomes a divine happening, where not I who lives but one is being lived (by/in/as divine Life and Intelligence). A mystic will go through the different sub phases of I AM (which I talked about in my e-book) and beyond but a summarized form of the four aspects of I AM is in the Jacob's Ladder map in this website:

At the mature phase, one will feel as Jesus said, “Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.” “I can of my own self do nothing.”

Or in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

Jesus made it very clear he wishes upon everyone his "oneness with Father" and on the day that one 'Lives', that oneness will be realized (as being already so): "I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one."

“If you love me, keep my commands. … Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Why "I am in my Father"? Why not "I am my Father?" Because there is a sense of myself (as an individual), and all others, as merely being the expression of the greater Source -- it is not just an experience of non-doership but when purged of any sense of personality (being merely an individual person separate from life/the divine) all experience becomes the play of the greater divine Life and Intelligence. When that sense of individuality completely dissolves, the focus is no longer on an interiority, or the mere sense of Existence/Consciousness, furthermore it is no longer I (as an individual) who lives but the greater Source that lives me. It is not so much that I as an individual 'becomes Christ' but that 'I' must completely dissolve so that Christ becomes my Life.

 Interestingly, if you take the Gospel of Thomas into consideration, there's a phrase that sounds very much like Bahiya Sutta (I'm not saying it's the same but if you're familiar you will spot the similarity):

"Jesus saw some infants who were being suckled. He said to his disciples: These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom. They said to him: If we then become children, shall we enter the kingdom? Jesus said to them: When you make the two one, and when you make the inside as the outside, and the outside as the inside, and the upper as the lower, and when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male is not male and the female not female, and when you make eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then shall you enter [the kingdom]."
A Meditation: Climbing Jacob's Ladder
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SGH:Regarding [this appropriation of] Bahiya sutta:

Copy pasta from elsewhere (Source:


Another thing to mention is that it is time to let the Bahiya sutta go. If we want to refer to this extremely popular teaching of the Buddha, we should stop citing the Bahiya sutta and start citing the Malunkyaputta sutta.

The Malunkyaputta sutta contains the very same teaching given to Bahiya, but with more context, more explanation and it is given to a student and disciple of the Buddha, as opposed to Bahiya who was not ordained or educated in the other concepts of the Buddha. If we want to know how the Buddha saw his instruction fit with his overall teaching, we should look to the Malunkyaputta sutta and stop importing our own interpretations into the Bahiya sutta.

You can read the Malunkyaputta sutta yourself and make up your mind as to the significance of the instructions also given to Bahiya, but in case you wanted to know what I think:

Before the "in the seen, only the seen"-part, Buddha sets the stage by talking about how for things that have been and will remain unseen there is no desire or passion.

Then, after the "in the seen, only the seen"-instruction, Malunkyaputta repeats back to Buddha what he has understood by this instruction. In short, when, with an impassioned mind, mindfulness unestablished, one grasps a thing as desirable, then feelings, greed, aversion and stress grows, and one drifts away from the peace of nibbana. But, with a dispassionate mind, mindfulness firm, one experiences the thing cleanly and nothing more comes of it, and one makes strides towards nibbana.

After Malunkyaputta has said this, the Buddha repeats it back to him and confirms that this is how the instruction should be understood.

So ask yourself: Which of these aligns most closely to the thousands of suttas? The popular interpretation, or the explanation given by the Buddha himself in the Malunkyaputta sutta?

No matter what you think, it is time to give up the Bahiya sutta and replace it with the less malleable Malunkyaputta sutta.


One might wonder how the following fits with not having desire:

> ... then there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.

Well, the explanation is simple and very Buddhist indeed: Self is the ultimate passion. One does not have passion for what is not self. One does not cling to rubble in the street:

> Give up what's not yours. Giving it up will be for your welfare and happiness. And what isn’t yours?
[The six senses of contact, as well as the five aggregates.]
Suppose a person was to carry off the grass, sticks, branches, and leaves in this Jeta’s Grove, or burn them, or do what they want with them. Would you think: ‘This person is carrying us off, burning us, or doing what they want with us?’
No, sir. Why is that? Because that’s neither self nor belonging to self.
In the same way, [the six senses of contact, as well as the five aggregates] isn't yours: give it up.

~ SN 22.33, SN 35.101 & SN 35.138


Another relevant sutta that should be understood to expound on the instructions in Bahyia and Malunkyaputta sutta:

- Sir, may the Buddha please teach me Dhamma in brief. When I’ve heard it, I’ll live alone, withdrawn, diligent, keen, and resolute.
- Mendicant, give up desire for what is not self.
- Understood, Blessed One! Understood, Holy One!
- But how do you see the detailed meaning of my brief statement?

- Sir,
Form is not self; I should give up desire for it.
Feeling is not self; I should give up desire for it.
Perception is not self; I should give up desire for it.
Choices is not self; I should give up desire for it.
Consciousness is not-self; I should give up desire for it.
That’s how I understand the detailed meaning of the Buddha’s brief statement.

- Good, good, mendicant! It’s good that you understand the detailed meaning of what I’ve said in brief like this. [Buddha repeats it back.]

And that mendicant became one of the perfected.

SN 22.68

This should be understood as not in the slightest different from the Bahiya and Malunkyaputta sutta: By methodically investigating experience, we find that it is empty of self and anything belonging to self--"there is no you there". And there is an intimate relationship between taking things as self or self's and having desire for them, such that when things are seen to be not self, then desire fades (nibbida & viraga) and one nears nibbana.
Alejandro Serrano
October 17, 2011

"In the seen, there is only the seen, in the heard, there is only the heard, in the sensed, there is only the sensed, in the cognized, there is only the cognize...
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SGH:With all that said, how you make the Bahiya sutta into a corollary of that quote from the Gospel of Thomas will continue to baffle me.
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:There is a similarity (in X only X) but it is not the same
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SGH:There isn’t even that similarity (“in X only X”) in the quote. You gotta supply quite a load of your own interpretation to see what you see there. Just sayin’.
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:In this phrase as a whole, you can feel that the person is conveying nondual experience using analogies and parables. The Essence must be intuited in the gospels. However I’m not saying it is related to Buddhist emptiness kind of insight
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SGH:Then why are you relating it to Bahiya sutta?
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu:as I said, in the x just the x. This is part of nondual experience/no mind but not necessarily imply a similar Buddhist realisation
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SGH:And like I said, there isn’t even any “in the x just the x” in the quote. But whatever; it’s nearly impossible to make people unsee something they’ve come to see.
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Soh Wei Yu Back to Jesus and Mysticism.. here's an interesting post from reddit I just found:

Posted byu/theChristianErickson
2 months ago
Jesus: “You are God”

In the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus is said to have claimed to be one with God and to be God’s son. The passage goes on to say that the Jewish leaders at the time then took up stones to kill him, at which point Jesus asked them why he was being stoned. They replied that he was being stoned for claiming to be God’s son and thereby claiming equality with God.

What happens next is where it gets good...

Instead of claiming Divinity, Jesus then turns it back on them and says, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”? (John 10:34). His reaction to them being mad at him for claiming equality with God was to proclaim to them their own Divinity.

Now, it is often protested that Jesus tells them they are “gods” with a little “g” and not God, therefore Jesus is not going as far as to claim Divinity for humanity. But is that the case? In the New Testament version of the story, the Greek word used for “gods” is “theoi” which is merely the plural form of “God” (“theo” in Greek). This doesn’t help to shed light on this passage much. Let’s dig a little deeper...

Jesus was actually quoting a familiar Old Testament passage to them. That passage is Psalm 82:6, which says, “I have said, you are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.”

What is interesting is that the word used for “gods” here is not what you would expect. It isn’t some different word that means a lesser god than God almighty. The Hebrew word here that gets translated as “gods” is actually “Elohim.” It’s the very same word used all throughout the Old Testament when referring to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It’s even the word used in the beginning of Genesis when it says that “In the beginning, God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.” Like many words in our english Bibles, the word we see in the text was chosen by translators with agendas. The translators do not have a grid for the reality of our shared Divinity and so have to translate it differently than what it says.

What the scripture is actually saying is “you are God.” When Jesus quoted that to the Pharisees, he was telling them of their true nature. He wasn’t just saying he was one with God. He was saying everyone is.

This is just one of many examples throughout the Christian scriptures. The truth is we are all one God manifesting as a multitude of people. As the great Christian theologian G. K. Chesterton once quipped, we are “the million masks of God.” Only we do not know it. This is why beings like Jesus come along every once and a while, in order for us to see in them what is true of us, so that in them we might, “behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

This is the inside joke of creation. It’s even one that Moses got in on. When Moses asked for the name of God, he was told that God was “I Am.” What is funny about this is that meant that every time Moses was asked who God was he would have to reply “I Am.” I don’t see how much clearer it can be than that.

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3 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Different individuals hv different conditions and karmas which will determine whether they r capable of attaining light. Having said dis, a secluded mountain life free frm distractions of modern living is certainly a very favourable condition for realization to occur,but alas! Whr to find such distraction-free mountain environment? Retreat may help,but certainly less ideal for attainment,for karmic tendencies are so deep beyond the conscious mind dat nothing less dan a hearty commitment to long term secluded life will light shines through the darkness of ignorance.

  2. Soh Says:

    It is more fruitful to be living under the tutelage of a realised teacher than practice alone without guidance.

    In Singapore there are monks/teachers in Kwan yin Chan lin who have realisations.

  3. Soh Says:

    Secluded life is not a must for realization. Some of the most realised people I know are laypersons. I have also awakened as a lay person. But it is true that as a monk, you can be more dedicated to practice.