Comments: If are aiming for Self-Realization (i.e. Thusness Stage 1), start with self-inquiry as I discussed in my e-book. If you are aiming for nondual/anatta realization or already realized that, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness is more appropriate.

Also see: Practice Before AND After Anatta
Vipassana Must Go With Luminous Manifestation
Thusness's Vipassana


Hey Soh I hope you are doing good
I just had a question, just trying to make sure according to you what is the difference between mindfulness and awareness?

1:55 AM
the way i use the terms
awareness is your luminous essence, ever present as the very manifest sound, sight, or thought or sense of existence before concepts
for example when hearing just sound. always already so. hearing is always only sound. that sound is clearly 'self-aware'
already the case
you didn't make the sound 'aware' it is 'aware by itself' by nature
mindfulness is a mental factor that denotes the opposite of forgetfulness
so it is both the opposite of absent mindedness or distraction, as well as the presence of remembrance of the truth
remembrance of the three dharma seals - impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, non-self
so you can lose mindfulness but you cannot lose awareness
many people use the term mindfulness to mean something like bare attention, but bare attention is only part of it
you can have bare attention yet get stuck in the sense of being a background Witness
this is not being mindful of the three dharma seals
im doing good thanks.. hope you're doing good too

Im good

I see this where contemplation of the things like Bahiya sutta become important with remembrance of them
So non distraction is no awareness
Awareness-manifestartion is spontaneous and unfolds without a controller


awareness is 'essence', mindfulness is the practice, until it becomes effortless and spontaneous due to realisation and stabilisation of insight
even after arahantship, the arahants still dedicate quality time to meditate and practice mindfulness of breathing or the four foundations of mindfulness. this is so even though they done what is to be done and eliminated all I/me/mine-making, still practicing mindfulness in sitting meditation leads to a pleasant abiding. according to the buddha and his arahants
also 'awareness' or 'luminous essence' is usually over-stressed, what's even more important is the 'empty nature' of luminous clarity, this is what liberates
otherwise it becomes like Self of vedanta, etc
non-distraction and being mindful of the empty and luminous nature of presence in whatever arises is the practice, i mean. even though luminosity (awareness) and emptiness is never lost. it is not lost even in the most deluded unenlightened person in the world, just that they aren't mindful of their nature and thus suffer
at first mindfulness seems to be very efforting but after anatta realisation it becomes effortless. but it does not mean one should stop practicing, one should still practice diligently


This is clarifying so many things
How would you definite luminosity?


there are different definitions so you should be careful of the context being spoken. usually people use it to denote the aspect of 'luminous clarity' or clarity or presence-awareness, but according to Lopon Malcolm in his tradition the term 'luminosity' already implies the inseparability of emptiness and clarity. in my terminology, i usually use 'luminosity' to refer to the aspect of presence-awareness, so one can 'realise luminosity' but at the same time fail to realise its emptiness. both essence (presence-awareness) and nature (empty nature) or its inseparable union must be realised for liberation, that's the only way to liberate.
i wrote something on luminosity a few months back -

"Someone asked me about luminosity. I said it is not simply a state of heightened clarity or mindfulness, but like touching the very heart of your being, your reality, your very essence without a shadow of doubt. It is a radiant, shining core of Presence-Awareness, or Existence itself. It is the More Real than Real. It can be from a question of "Who am I?" followed by a sudden realization. And then with further insights you touch the very life, the very heart, of everything. Everything comes alive. First as the innermost 'You', then later when the centerpoint is dropped (seen through -- there is no 'The Center') every 'point' is equally so, every point is A 'center', in every encounter, form, sound and activity."

The Key Towards Pure Knowingness

"The key towards pure knowingness is to bring the taste of presence into the 6 entries and exits. So that what is seen, heard, touched, tasted are pervaded by a deep sense of crystal, radiance and transparency. This requires seeing through the center." - Thusness

What is Luminosity?

DhO questioner: What is Luminosity?

Daniel M. Ingram:

Luminosity is both a useful and possibly very misleading term.

Here's what it is doesn't mean: that a person will suddenly see things more brightly, that there will be more light in things than the standard amount, or anything like that.

Here's what it points to, said a number of equivalent ways:

“1) In the seeing, just the seen. In the hearing, just the heard. In cognition, just the cognized. In feeling, just the felt... This standard line from the Bahiya of the Bark Cloth Sutta in the Udana is one of the most profound there is in the whole of the Pali Canon. It means that sensations are just sensations, simply that, with no knower, doer, be-er (not beer, as that is a beverage), or self in them to be found at all.
2) Point one, taken in its logical inverse, means that the "light" of awareness is in things where they are, including all of the space between/around/through them equally.
3) Said another way, things just are aware/manifest/occurring where they are just as they are, extremely straightforwardly.


when all thoughts drop... what remains is purely a sense of PRESENCE. there is no subject-object in it. You do not observe it. You touch the heart of your Being, not by 'knowing' but Being the Being. It is You. and when hearing... how do you touch the 'heart' of the vivid luminosity of Sound? there's no how, you just realise that in hearing there's only sound, hearing IS the sound... the vivid PRESENCE/SOUND... there's only that. there is no one there to even 'recognise the sound'. that's not what mindfulness mean. mindfulness of sound is just SOUND, enter into it, the heart of it. and then the same goes for colors, sensations, taste, touch, smell, thought
that's luminosity and not just a state of heightened clarity
when you realise anatta you will realise the purpose of buddha teaching the four foundations of mindfulness, why the buddha taught that it is the direct path to liberation, why he is so confident in that practice that he assures everyone will attain full liberation through that practice in as little as 7 days and no more than 7 years
“What are the Four Establishments? 1. “Bhikkhus, a practitioner remains established in the observation of the body in the body, diligent, with clear understanding, mindful, having abandoned every craving and every distaste for this life. 2. “He remains established in the observation of the feelings in the feelings, diligent, with clear understanding, mindful, having abandoned every craving and every distaste for this life. 3. “He remains established in the observation of the mind in the mind, diligent, with clear understanding, mindful, having abandoned every craving and every distaste for this life. 4. “He remains established in the observation of the objects of mind in the objects of mind, diligent, with clear understanding, mindful, having abandoned every craving and every distaste for this life.”
as thich nhat hanh said, "While we are fully aware of and observing deeply and object the boundary between the subject who observes and the object being observed gradually dissolves, and the subject and object become one. This is the essence of meditation. Only when we penetrate the object and become one with it can we understand it. That is why the sutra reminds us to be aware of the body in the body, the feelings in the feelings, the mind in the mind, and the objects of mind in the objects of mind."

but what i'm saying is not even 'gradually' but a sudden realisation.. then the path becomes known and direct


Its so funny to see the myriad of interpretation people have. This was the interpretation I had of those statements of the Buddha the first time I practiced vipassana

this is similar to

We can only perceive the suchness of things through an awareness that opens to them nonconceptually and unconditionally, allowing them to reveal themselves in their as-it-is-ness. As the poet Basho suggests:

From the pine tree

Learn of the pine tree

And from the bamboo

of the bamboo.

Commenting on these lines, the Japanese philosopher Nishitani (1982) explains that Basho does not mean

That we should ‘observe the pine tree carefully.’ Still less does he mean for us to ‘study the pine tree scientifically.’ He means for us to enter the mode of being where the pine tree is the pine tree itself, and the bamboo is the bamboo itself, and from there to look at the pine tree and the bamboo. He calls on us to betake ourselves to the dimension where things become manifest in their suchness. (p. 128)

In the same vein, Zen Master Dogen advises: “You should not restrict yourselves to learning to see water from the viewpoints of human beings alone. Know that you must see water in the way water sees water” (Izutsu, 1972, p. 140). “Seeing water in the way water sees water” means recognizing water in its suchness, free of all concepts that spring from an observing mind standing back from experience.


Thanks again Soh I will devour the ressources you sent to bring clarity to my practice
One thing I wanted to mention
Last weekend I was contemplating and I suddenly had on of those "Aha" or "Eureka" moment about the I thought or the sense of existance. I saw like sights, sounds and other manifestation, it appears and disappears, it is not personal it is just an arising. Since then I felt like an empty shell of just dancing senses. As you told me before sensations cannot see, even if the tactile center is here, there is no substrate to cognizes, there is no awareness that links
Things feel so ordinary
I am nothing

that's good.. only arising and disappearing. but at the same time total presence is experienced and realised as that very arising

Yeah it seems I need to investigate more, I was locked in a sort of nothingness a few days ago but movement in multiplicity is coming back
I havent realized anatta but I cant find awareness, at least the one that was there before. The one existence, self-evidence that knows. Seeing, hearing and so on are self evident
It becomes even clearer in the moments when I spontenously get out of distraction


means you are having experience and glimpses of no-mind... but the realization is still lacking. so continue contemplation on bahiya sutta and anatta view, like this one - , and the realization will come and no-mind will become your natural state

I got you man
Thanks for sharing the dharma



I also wrote in 2011:

Good insight. Stability of experience has a predictable relationship with
the unfolding and deepening of insights. For example how seamless and
effortless can non-dual experience be, if in the back of one's mind, subtle
views of duality and inherency and tendencies continue to surface and affect
our moment to moment experience - for example conjuring an unchanging source
or mind that results in a perpetual tendency to sink back and referencing
experience back to a source.

For example even after it is seen that everything is a manifestation of
awareness or mind, there might still be subtle tendencies to reference back
to a source, awareness or mind and therefore the transience is not
appreciated in full. Nondual is experienced but one sinks back into
substantial nonduality - there is always a referencing back to a base, an
"awareness" that is nevertheless inseperable from all phenomena.

If one arises the insight that our ideas of an unchanging source, awareness
or mind is just another thought - that there is simply thought after
thought, sight after sight, sound after sound, and there isn't an inherent
or unchanging "awareness", "mind", "source". Non-dual becomes implicit and
effortless when there is the realisation that what awareness, seeing,
hearing really is, is just the seen... The heard... The transience... The
transience itself rolls and knows, no knower or other "awareness" can be
found. Like there is no river apart from flowing, no wind apart from
blowing, each noun implies its verb... Similarly awareness is simply the
process of knowing not separated from the known. Scenery sees, music hears.
Because there is nothing unchanging, independent, ultimate apart from the
transience, there is no more sinking back to a source and instead there is
full comfort resting as the transience itself.

Lastly do continue practicing the intensity of luminosity... When looking at
tennis ball just sense the tennis ball fully.... Without thinking of a
source, background, observer, self. Just the tennis ball as a luminous
light. When breathing... Just the breathe... When seeing scenery, just
sights, shapes and colours - intensely luminous and vivid without an agent
or observer. When hearing music... Sound of bird chirping, the crickets...
Just that - chirp chirp. A zen master noted upon his awakening... When I am
hearing the bell ringing, there is no I and no bell... Just the ringing. The
direct experiencing of no-mind and intensity of luminosity.. This is the
purpose of the practice of the four foundations of mindfulness that is
taught by the Buddha.

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