Actuality - How to draw a distinction between what is real vs what is conceptual and imaginary. The Ultimate Life…
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu Interesting video but this is skewing to the Actual Freedom sort of experience and mistaking PCE as ultimate. Skewing towards non conceptuality. However I like his description of body as construct,

“if you just feel the body, notice whatever you’re fe
eling you’re not feeling the body but a cloud of various sensations from feet to abdomen to chest to face to hands, aphormous sensations certain parts of which u cant feel at all, so you got a cloud of sensations which are actual, but that’s not the body. the body is a specific imaginary construct you have.

You don’t even know it’s you. You think this body is yours, you’re in control of the body, you think you were born in this body and it’s responsible for everything you see out there, that its perceiving the table, the cat, dog, wall, etc. all that is concept and imagination.”
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Joel Agee
Joel Agee Haven't seen more than the first five minutes or so of the video so far, but your comments led me to search for "PCE", and that took me to this very interesting and to me inspiring article by Daniel M Ingraham:
Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu Joel Agee I think it should be a natural state for you too.

Lately the intensity here seems to be intensifying even further and whole body mind universe is a sphere of boundless light as manifestation, the textures and details of the moment
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Joel Agee
Joel Agee Thank you for John Tan's comments. They dovetail with some things Daniel Ingraham says in his article. He is departing from the Actualist exclusive focus on non-conceptual experience. "Take a real honest approach to noticing feelings in the body, right here, and notice how they arise (causality), what thoughts go along with them, and what the stories in those thoughts are. Try to gently, honestly, humanly and kindly tease apart the stories and assumptions of those feelings, and notice when they change and what they change into as time progresses."
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Soh Wei Yu
Soh Wei Yu Was jogging just now and this boundless light (empty-clarity as the whole infinite field of manifestation) just keeps intensifying and intensifying into complete stunning brilliance, and had this out of body feel -- which is not a dissociated state (i can no longer experience subject/object dualistic state nor dissociation, nondual is always experienced here) but like a dispersing into the infinite field, and yet this is not mere mind-body drop as mind-body drop is already my ever-present state for many years.
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20 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Dis experience of 'dispersing into infinite field' should be result of 'thinning' of the koshas , which means your Self/Soul/Presence has breakthrough much from the bondage of the knots of the sheaths....

  2. Soh Says:

    Your understanding of Presence as a True Self is Advaita, but I no longer have any sense of a self/Self for the past 8 years after realization of anatta.

    The Advaita teachers talk about infinite expansion of Self but it is not the same. I had gone through the I AM phase but that was 8+ years back.

    I have gone through countless online discussions in the past on the whole True Self vs No-Self debates so I do not wish to repeat it again. Just trust that I have gone through all the stages in the Thusness Seven Stages and I know what I'm talking about.

    As Thusness wrote in reply to Gozen,

    24. RE: The mind and the watcher
    Apr 7 2009, 5:46 PM EDT | Post edited: Apr 7 2009, 5:57 PM EDT
    Gozen: "I AM: Paradoxically, one feels at the same time that one is both essentially untouched by all phenomena and yet intimately at one with them. As the Upanishad says "Thou are That."

    1.a. Body and Mind as Constructs: Another way to look at this is to observe that all compound things -- including one's own body and mind -- are **objects to awareness.** That is to say, from the "fundamental" point of view of primordial awareness, or True Self, even body and mind are **not self.**"

    Thusness: Ha Gozen, I re-read the post and saw **not self**, I supposed u r referring to anatta then I have to disagree...:-). However I agree with what that u said from the Vedanta (True Self) standpoint. But going into it can make it appears unnecessary complex.

    As a summary, I see anatta as understanding the **transience** as Awareness by realizing that there is no observer apart from the observed. Effectively it is referring to the experience of in seeing, only scenery, no seer. In hearing, only sound, no hearer. The experience is quite similar to “Thou are That” except that there is no sinking back to a Source as it is deemed unnecessary. Full comfort is found in resting completely as the transience without even the slightest need to refer back to a source. For the source has always been the manifestation due to its emptiness nature.

    All along there is no dust alighting on the Mirror; the dust has always been the Mirror. We fail to recognize the dust as the Mirror when we are attached to a particular speck of dust and call it the ”Mirror”; When a particular speck of dust becomes special, then all other pristine happening that are self-mirroring suddenly appears dusty.

    Anything further, we will have to take it private again. :-)

  3. Soh Says:

    In terms of non Buddhist my experience and insight is most similar to Richard from actualfreedom:

    What he describes as PCE or actual freedom is already my constant state, nothing special. And yet that is just the beginning as it hasn’t penetrated into twofold emptiness. Therefore my insights go even further than that.

    But richard is very clear in distinguishing his experience from the Advaitic experience.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Whether one sinks back to a source or 'drop' into phenomena, ultimately theres only the Self/Soul dats doing the sinkinng ....

  5. Soh Says:

    There is no such thing as a Self/Soul. That is purely an illusion. There is also no agent.

    Sinking back to a Source is also purely an illusion, a fabricated image of a non-dual experience captured and reified into an ultimate background as true and real. There is no 'Source' or 'Consciousness' besides manifestation. Since this is always already the case, there is also no such thing as 'dropping into phenomena'. There is always already just manifestation/phenomena, which is self-radiant.

  6. Soh Says:

    Or as Thusness explained in

    84. RE: Is there an absolute reality? [Skarda 4 of 4]
    Mar 27 2009, 9:15 AM EDT | Post edited: Mar 27 2009, 9:15 AM EDT
    Hi theprisonergreco,

    First is what exactly is the ‘background’? Actually it doesn’t exist. It is only an image of a ‘non-dual’ experience that is already gone. The dualistic mind fabricates a ‘background’ due to the poverty of its dualistic and inherent thinking mechanism. It ‘cannot’ understand or function without something to hold on to. That experience of the ‘I’ is a complete, non-dual foreground experience.

    When the background subject is understood as an illusion, all transience phenomena reveal themselves as Presence. It is like naturally 'vipassanic' throughout. From the hissing sound of PC, to the vibration of the moving MRT train, to the sensation when the feet touches the ground, all these experiences are crystal clear, no less “I AM” than “I AM”. The Presence is still fully present, nothing is denied. -:) So the “I AM” is just like any other experiences when the subject-object split is gone. No different from an arising sound. It only becomes a static background as an after thought when our dualistic and inherent tendencies are in action.

    The first 'I-ness' stage of experiencing awareness face to face is like a point on a sphere which you called it the center. You marked it.

    Then later you realized that when you marked other points on the surface of a sphere, they have the same characteristics. This is the initial experience of non-dual. Once the insight of No-Self is stabilized, you just freely point to any point on the surface of the sphere -- all points are a center, hence there is no 'the' center. 'The' center does not exist: all points are a center.

    After then practice move from 'concentrative' to 'effortlessness'. That said, after this initial non-dual insight, 'background' will still surface occasionally for another few years due to latent tendencies...

    86. RE: Is there an absolute reality? [Skarda 4 of 4]
    Mar 27 2009, 11:59 AM EDT | Post edited: Mar 27 2009, 11:59 AM EDT
    To be more exact, the so called 'background' consciousness is that pristine happening. There is no a 'background' and a 'pristine happening'. During the initial phase of non-dual, there is still habitual attempt to 'fix' this imaginary split that does not exist. It matures when we realized that anatta is a seal, not a stage; in hearing, always only sounds; in seeing always only colors, shapes and forms; in thinking, always only thoughts. Always and already so. -:)

  7. Anonymous Says:

    So yr actually saying the end of the path is 'dispersing into everything(phenomena)?

  8. Soh Says:

    The infinite field is none other than manifestation. But this infinite field of manifestation is of the nature of empty-clarity, appearing yet non-arising, with a self-luminous nature. This self-luminosity is no longer mistaken to be some source and substratum behind, unlike Advaita.

    Related article:

  9. Anonymous Says:

    So with the end of wrong judgement(mistaken of some source), Consciousness has 'realized itself' to be 'one with all manifestation' .... ,unlike in state of ignorance,which Consciousness mistakenly indentify itself as small,limited self'....I think many nondual teachers also preaching such theories,yet they dont appear to be very enlightened...

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Simply put , the goal can be described(according to yr description) as 'Consciousness/Self/Brahman realizing itself as one with phenomena and not with (small,limited) self ....

  11. Soh Says:

    No, you are completely misunderstanding what I meant.

    What I'm saying is not "consciousness is one with all manifestation" as that implies there is a consciousness on one side, that is united or one with manifestation.

    I'm saying there is no consciousness at all besides manifestation. What you call manifestation is consciousness and that's it. 'Consciousness' does not exist on its own, it is merely a label like 'weather' is a label on rain, wind, clouds, etc.

    This view of consciousness as being empty of itself is unique to Buddhadharma and is not found in Advaita or Neo-Advaita doctrines. It is a unique insight. Thusness Stage 5 and 6 is unique to Buddhadharma.

  12. Soh Says:

    There is no Brahman in Buddhadharma. No ultimate, ontological realities. You should study the Thusness Seven Stages carefully.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Since manifestation/phenomena is changing and impermanent,so 'consciousness' is ever evolving/changing/nonstatic ?

  14. Soh Says:

    Yes exactly. That is anatta insight. Then a further insight (twofold emptiness) will allow you to see that the transient manifestation, being dependently originated, is in fact empty, unborn, non-arising, non-abiding and non-ceasing.

    On the Anatta insight, see


    some other quotations which Thusness/PasserBy liked from the book --

    "When we say I know the wind is blowing, we don't think that there is something blowing something else. "Wind' goes with 'blowing'. If there is no blowing, there is no wind. It is the same with knowing. Mind is the knower; the knower is mind. We are talking about knowing in relation to the wind. 'To know' is to know something. Knowing is inseparable from the wind. Wind and knowing are one. We can say, 'Wind,' and that is enough. The presence of wind indicates the presence of knowing, and the presence of the action of blowing'."

    "..The most universal verb is the verb 'to be'': I am, you are, the mountain is, a river is. The verb 'to be' does not express the dynamic living state of the universe. To express that we must say 'become.' These two verbs can also be used as nouns: 'being", "becoming". But being what? Becoming what? 'Becoming' means 'evolving ceaselessly', and is as universal as the verb "to be." It is not possible to express the "being" of a phenomenon and its "becoming" as if the two were independent. In the case of wind, blowing is the being and the becoming...."

    "In any phenomena, whether psychological, physiological, or physical, there is dynamic movement, life. We can say that this movement, this life, is the universal manifestation, the most commonly recognized action of knowing. We must not regard 'knowing' as something from the outside which comes to breathe life into the universe. It is the life of the universe itself. The dance and the dancer are one."


    Comments by Thusness/PasserBy:

    " a verb, as action, there can be no concept, only experience. Non-dual anatta (no-self) is the experience of subject/Object as verb, as action. There is no mind, only mental activities... ...Source as the passing phenomena... and how non-dual appearance is understood from Dependent Origination perspective."

  15. Soh Says:

    When I said "Yes exactly. That is anatta insight." it should be noted that it is not merely saying everything is impermanent therefore it is non-self, that is inferential. Rather it is by seeing how consciousness is empty of being a background substance, nothing besides these radiant manifestation that the insight of anatta arises. Anatta is the direct realization of Presence as being empty of a background Self and thus brings the taste of Radiance into the Transiency.

  16. Soh Says:

    Zen Master Dogen, Hui-Neng, Hui Lu, et al. have cited scriptures and explained "Buddha-Nature is Impermanence". This requires deep insight into anatta. I have great appreciation for Dogen.

    2013 conversation with Thusness:

    16/3/13 5:04:23 PM: John Tan: Direct realization of Presence is important
    16/3/13 5:05:36 PM: John Tan: But it is the wisdom of emptiness that liberates
    16/3/13 5:06:30 PM: John Tan: U should b clear abt this by now
    16/3/13 5:07:16 PM: Soh Wei Yu: I see ya
    16/3/13 5:07:34 PM: John Tan: Just the insights between total exertion, DO and Emptiness need to ?? (guan4 tong1; thread together/link up)
    16/3/13 5:08:45 PM: John Tan: U seem to equate and stop at just the "non-inherent therefore empty"
    16/3/13 5:11:37 PM: Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
    16/3/13 5:11:40 PM: John Tan: Means when that grasping need of an "essence" is seen through and there is only ever manifestations, the self liberation and unborn nature of appearances must also be realized
    16/3/13 5:15:02 PM: John Tan: When we say appearance is Awareness or Awareness is only everything, u must also see all the characteristics that was once the monopoly of the Absolute also goes to the manifestations
    16/3/13 5:15:54 PM: Soh Wei Yu: Empty thus nonarising
    16/3/13 5:16:09 PM: John Tan: But that is totally different from saying an inherent unborn unchanging essence
    16/3/13 5:16:32 PM: John Tan: Yes the non-arising

    16/3/13 5:32:08 PM: John Tan: With ur current experience and insights, u see the teaching of Buddha clear and precise
    16/3/13 5:32:40 PM: John Tan: Wrong view is being addressed from start
    16/3/13 5:32:45 PM: Soh Wei Yu: Yes
    16/3/13 5:33:16 PM: John Tan: Yet non-conceptual direct mode of perception is nvr denied
    16/3/13 5:34:06 PM: John Tan: Therefore I always tell u the experience and the view and realizations
    16/3/13 5:34:48 PM: John Tan: The wrong view reifies the experience
    16/3/13 5:36:25 PM: John Tan: Only after the thorough insight of anatta do I realized the transience and aggregates is the Presence
    16/3/13 5:36:48 PM: John Tan: But there is no Presence other than the aggregates
    16/3/13 5:37:26 PM: John Tan: All along before arising insight of anatta, Awareness is special
    16/3/13 5:37:47 PM: John Tan: And separated from the transient

  17. Soh Says:

    Still, if you are on the path towards Self-Realization, then just continue with Self-Inquiry and this advise still applies:

    The realization of "Self" or Pure Presence is important but should not be seen as a finality. At least, that has been my experience and path, but its more towards Buddhadharma. Other teachers or paths may disagree and I do not wish to get into arguments.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    How can something dats dependently originated,depends of conditions to arise, be unborn,unarising etc... dats a contradiction :-)

    Wat is Nirvana then? Not a permanent resting 'place' , free from all changelessness? Buddhism itself taught change will lead to nothing but unsatisfactoriness and suffering.And yet frm wat u said so far, theres no such permanent state, just manifestation/phenomena being self radiant....

  19. Soh Says:

    Nirvana is simply and only the cessation of all identity, self/Self, passion, aggression and delusion. That is how the Buddha defined it.

    Change is unsatisfactory and are subject to suffering when there is clinging to it. Otherwise, there is no suffering even in the midst of change. Samsara is nirvana rightly seen.

    The Buddha taught, ""Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, 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."[2]"

    Also, I have written before,

    Hi Justin Struble we have to be very careful in interpreting that Nibbana sutta. First of all we have to understand what 'Nirvana/Nibbana' means in context. As Ven Hui-feng puts it, "keep in mind the basic metaphorical meaning of the term nirvana, the extinguishing of a flame". The main analogy given by Buddha for nirvana is the extinguishing of a flame. As Ven Nanananda also pointed out,

    "Regarding this concept of Nibbàna too, the worldling is generally tempted to entertain some kind of ma¤¤anà, or me-thinking. Even some philosophers are prone to that habit. They indulge in some sort of prolific conceptualisation and me-thinking on the basis of such conventional usages as `in Nib­bàna', `from Nibbàna', `on reaching Nibbàna' and `my Nib­bàna'. By hypostasizing Nibbàna they de­velop a substance view, even of this concept, just as in the case of pañhavi, or earth. Let us now try to determine whether this is justifi­able.

    The primary sense of the word Nibbàna is `extinction', or `extin­guishment'. We have already discussed this point with reference to such contexts as Aggivacchagottasutta.[8] In that dis­course the Bud­dha explained the term Nibbàna to the wan­dering ascetic Vaccha­got­ta with the help of a simile of the ex­tinction of a fire. Simply be­cause a fire is said to go out, one should not try to trace it, wondering where it has gone. The term Nibbàna is essentially a verbal noun. We also came across the phrase nibbuto tveva saïkhaü gacchati, "it is reck­oned as `extinguished'".[9]"

    Extinction of what? Extinction of passion, aggression and delusion driving the whole mass of samsara. Extinction of the the whole mass of suffering/samsara in the twelve links from ignorance up to old age, sickness and death.

  20. Soh Says:

    Next is the terms 'unconditioned/death-free/etc' it is very easy to reify this in terms of a metaphysical entity. This is not the case.

    Here are some quotations which should hopefully clarify:

    Nana/Geoff: "“Firstly, while the translation of asaṃskṛta as “the unconditioned” is fairly common, it’s a rather poor translation that all too easily leads to reification. The term asaṃskṛta refers to a negation of conditioned factors, and the meaning is better conveyed by “not-conditioned.” Secondly, for Sautrāntika commentators, and many mahāyānika commentators as well, an analytical cessation (pratisaṃkhyānirodha) is a non-implicative negation (prasajyapratiṣedha), i.e. a negation that doesn’t imply the presence of some other entity, and therefore nirvāṇa simply refers to a cessation that terminates the defilements and fetters that are abandoned by the correct practice of the noble path. It doesn’t refer to an entity or state that is substantially existent (dravyasat).” "

    Nana/Geoff: "One has to be careful with such descriptions which may seem to be pointing to some sort of truly existent "unconditioned ground." Nibbāna is the extinguishment of the mental outflows (āsavā). The liberated mind is measureless (appamāṇa). This is not a "state of oneness with all of existence." It's an absence of identification (anattatā). It's non-indicative (anidassana), unestablished (appatiṭṭha), and not-dependent (anissita). None of these adjectives entail any sort of metaphysical "ground of being" or "unconditioned absolute." They are all negations. An arahant has simply "gone out."

    tiltbillings: "There is no "deathless." That is a bad translation leading to an objectification/reification of the idea of awakening. With awakening, there is no more rebirth, one is free from death. (31 words.)""

    Loppon Namdrol/Malcolm: “When you have eradicated all afflictions which cause rebirth, this is all the deathlessness you need. No more birth, BAM! no more death.”

    Buddha: "And what, monks, is the not-fabricated (asaṅkhata)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the not-fabricated. " .... "And what, monks, is the death-free (amata)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the death-free." - SN 43 Asaṅkhata Saṃyutta - more in

    I can provide many more quotations but this will suffice for now, I think. Nirvana is extinction, like the blowing out of a flame, it is simply and merely the end of suffering and afflictions and does not imply a metaphysical substantial existent as some may postulate. There is no "The Unconditioned" or "The Unborn" or "The Deathless" as some sort of metaphysical essence. There is an unconditioned dharma - analytical cessation (nirvana) - that is the end of birth and death (death-free), is not conditioned (by afflictive causes and manifestations) etc.

    All these are classic Nirvana stuff found in the earliest teachings in Pali suttas. In Mahayana emptiness, there is another understanding of "unconditioned" and that is as what Kyle said which I find to be very well said:

    "The unconditioned is the emptiness of the skandhas.

    Recognition of the emptiness of the skandhas means that the skandhas are non-arisen, what has not arisen cannot be conditioned."

    In any case, whether the classical nirvana understanding of the earliest text, or the emptiness understanding of unconditioned/non-arisen, there is no postulating of a truly existing metaphysical essence.

    For a more experiential description on what Nibbana is and the relation to the recognition of anatta (selflessness) do refer to the articles I pasted in