There seems to be different understandings, or phases of understandings, of emptiness. We can understand emptiness in a manner like 'weather', where weather is merely an imputation upon a collection of phenomena like rain falling, sun shining, and so on. But we can understand this in terms of the emptiness of the imputed label, leaving the collection, the aggregates, the very manifest vivid experience "un-emptied". Actually if we truly realized in direct realization how 'chariot' applies as vivid appearing presence, then that covers all. As John Tan told me before, "Don't keep thinking of aggregates as also empty, if you understand chariot is empty, what is not empty?" However the problem is that the aggregates do appear real unless we've had direct realization that the 'name-only' or 'empty' is actually vivid appearing presence.

The label or chariot that is empty is the vivid appearing presence, unfindable shimmering vivid like mirage.. not mental label. That vivid appearing presence is what is empty just like chariot is empty of itself. This means that one must be able to directly link "empty" with vivid appearances. Instead of empty as empty of essence, empty = vivid appearances.

If we think of a label "chariot" and then think "that labelled chariot is empty of essence", that is not directly experiencing chariot as vivid presence. If we think 'chariot/weather/etc' is empty because of this and that, it is still inferential analysis rather than direct realisation and actualization. However, when one realizes that chariot = vivid appearing presence, it is a direct experiential insight. Empty = this vivid presence. All along it is trying to convey this taste and insight. But conceptually it is understood that way, empty of essence.

Like any object you see, a handphone, a table, a car, that vivid presencing is 'chariot' - is vivid unfindable appearing presence, hence there is no handphone.. pain is vivid appearing presence, hence there is no pain. The vividly presencing handphone is the chariot that appears and functions but is empty, the vividly presencing pain is the chariot. Being so, there is no chariot, no pain, no suffering, and all that negations in Heart Sutra. Heart Sutra even says, "No forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or objects of mind".

But when we talk about the "no"s, there can have many meanings. What does the "no" as a negation mean? Certainly it is not referring to non-existence, which is an extreme. And we certainly do (conventionally) experience forms, sounds... and so on. Obviously anyone reading this is fully cognizant and conscious rather than an inert corpse or a piece of wood. I have seen new Heart Sutra translations that translate 'emptiness' into something like 'empty of independent existence', stressing on how all phenomena are empty of a separate, independent being, else they might be stressing on ‘interdependence’. Although this seems to be a more explanatory and better understanding than ‘nihilistic non-existence’, I would say even that interpretative translation misses the mark, and hence John and I do prefer the more accurate and precise translations over the interpretive ones or those that take poetic liberties. Furthermore we may think that it is the mentally labelled entities that are empty of self-essence but then we fail to go beyond seeing emptiness on the level of constructs.

At the level of direct experiential insight, it is the very unfindability, ungraspability, referencelessness of empty-luminosity.. an appearing “absence”. There is no weather not as in weather doesn't exist but is simply vivid empty appearing/presencing.. but it's not just the mentally labelled entity "weather" that is empty nor is it that weather doesn't exist but the very vivid empty appearing/presencing we call rain falling etc is nothing there, an appearing absence or vivid empty presencing like a rainbow or mirage or hologram. Emptiness is none other than form as it is precisely the appearing absence that is empty, is emptiness. Appearances are mere shimmerings of light-mirages.. it's just taste of empty presencing appearance. So the car I'm looking at, by being like a chariot and mere name is mere shimmering luminous light. It is to see that chariot = vivid appearing presence. Whatever's seen, heard, smelled, sensed, tasted and thought are unfindable despite the clear display, just like chariot. We don't have to differentiate inherency and non-inherency, conceptual or non-conceptual. If you get used to it, whatever appears is just empty.

Form is emptiness, emptiness is form should be understood in this way... taste, see, and smell emptiness.

2009 conversation with John Tan:

“(12:20 PM) Thusness: what you see is DO, emptiness and non-dual, your mind is therefore trapped. This is how our mind is trapped and prevents the seeing. when we are trapped in non-dual, we can't see emptiness. Even when it is clearly mentioned, it can't be seen.
(12:22 PM) AEN: so what does that mean? :P
(12:23 PM) Thusness: reality is like an illusion. but not an illusion. it is like a dream but not a dream. Everything is a magical display.And everything is mind. :) What does that mean? The mind is always wrongly understood. from "I AM" to non-dual experience. We cannot understand the truth of this mind therefore we can't see mind. just like you can't see the essence of the article. we have a preconception.
Everything is mind. And Everything is like a magical display. that is why i said there is no mirror, there is only reflection. the key is to know the nature of mind. to see that everything is reflection, transience Everything is Mind is what that must be derived from anatta and emptiness. but we do not know what "everything" is and what mind is. therefore we cannot 'see' and cannot experience.
we cannot see the essence of it. so anatta and emptiness are taught.

what is Everything? it is like magical display, like an illusion. but it is not an illusion.  like a dream but not a dream which many misunderstood. therefore when we experience sounds, thoughts, see colors, forms, dimension and shapes...all is empty like an illusion. like dreams like the 'redness' of a flower. like the 'selfness'. like the 'hereness'. like the 'nowness', yet empty, nothing real.

if you can't totally see that pristineness, that non-dual, that luminosity and see only emptiness, you are mistaken. the 'redness', the 'nowness', the 'hardness', the coldness, all are as luminous, as clear, as vivid. we must fully experience it. yet they are not real, nothing concrete, no solidity, nothing substantial, nothing graspable, no findable.

Empty, thus non-dual luminosity and emptiness. we see this union, in all transience,
passing phenomena, in emotions, in feelings, in thoughts, in sounds, in sight, in color, in dimension, in shapes, in taste, in hardness, coldness, in sweetness, in sky, in the sound of chirping bird, all experience are like that. empty yet luminous, then we realise that it is the same as mind, it is mind. if we din see these 2 nature of mind thoroughly, we can't see. we distant, we seek, we find. because of its emptiness nature, the manifold, we cannot know what mind is. therefore the ground is taught, the view is taught. empty yet non-dual luminosity, so that you can see and experience directly that the transience are mind, yet there is no self nature, get it?
(12:38 PM) AEN: think so
(12:38 PM) Thusness: then you experience what is one taste. Because we do not know what mind is, we cannot experience mind. we do not know, that is why insight is important. however if you do not know what is non-dual luminosity and emptiness, how is a practitioner going to experience mind everywhere and know that whatever arises is mind? therefore first anatta (non-dual luminosity), then emptiness, then spontaneous arising. do you understand what i mean? read the article ( On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection )”

“[16/12/16, 12:54:29 AM] John Tan: When you hit a bell, how did the sound arise? Where did it go? Is there arising or can you say there is arising? This is crucial and key to understanding of emptiness and releasing. Why whatever arises in dependence due to conditions cannot be said to arise nor cease? And that is the middle path.

Neither arises, Nor not arises.
Neither ceases, Nor not ceases.
Neither existence Nor non existence.
Neither affirmation Nor negation.

And these must be understood the right way with right view. Not for beautiful language. If consciousness ceases this moment can you say it ceases? If this thought ceases can you say it ceases?
[16/12/16, 1:00:05 AM] Soh Wei Yu: No, nothing arose or cease like a city mirage on horizon
[16/12/16, 1:00:32 AM] John Tan: But why it cannot be said to cease? I have told you many times you must understand from dependent origination and not just emptiness. Because whatever arises do not arise by itself. Now what did Buddha say? If there is karma and conditions, can phenomena not manifest? If this mind moment ceases, can next mind moment not arise if conditions are there? No, mind moment will arise on conditions, so there is no real cessation. Yet this mind moment is not the same as next mind moment, and they cannot be said to be different either. It cannot be said to have not ceased, and cannot be said to have ceased. As such whatever arises in dependence is non-arisen. Then you talk about the direct experience of mind… Of the six entries and exits. Experience and view. Get it?

You must first separate direct experience from view. Talk about non-dual experience, how it can be distorted with view, and from anatta you realise right explanation of the experience should be dependent origination, emptiness and non-arisen.  Not from essence view. And middle path is understood that way. There is not creation but not no creation. Middle path is dependent origination. Because we are so accustomed to essence view, we cannot get used to dependent origination.  We want to use essence view to understand dependent origination.”

“As it is said in the Root Verses of the Middle Way:
Not from self, not from other,
Not from both and not from neither—
Not for any entity at all anywhere,
Is there ever any production.”

“So, regarding production such as that of the sprout from the seed, the Ācārya Nāgārjuna said:
From a seed that is destroyed or intact,
The sprout is not produced,
So you taught that all production
Is just like magical creation.
As it is said, the appearances of dependent origination cannot withstand logical analysis, and when investigated using reasoning that inquires into the ultimate, not even the slightest so-called ‘production’ may be observed. Yet, when left unanalyzed, just like the appearances during a dream, a sprout appears to be produced from a seed. This is simply the way in which the conventional is presented.”
Posted to
  • John Ahn said (I'm putting this here so Soh can comment):
    I don't really recognize the people in the group anymore. But I've been studying in a way with Wei Yu and John Tan's stuff for the past 11 years. I don't anymore, actually I haven't for sometime. And I'll sort of explain why here.
    (Wei Yu has me blocked so if someone can post this to him it'd be good or whatever). For some reason this morning I felt like writing this.
    First of all the I AM that's often pointed out by the blog is just the ego. It's certainly not the I AM that's taught by masters in other tradtions. If you look at the actual teachings of I AM, the sense of background is rarely mentioned other than the sky and cloud example which just points to the metaphor of something already present and things that cloud it.
    The ego is the sense of a solid background, separation, and centainty. Or in the words of a teacher I know, the "refusal to participate in phenomena." If you ask your self "who am I" in the conventional sense, it will lead to this sense of center, background, because the ego is our usual sense of self located within and withdrawn within the body. It can be localized or conceptually widened as if a container of phenomena.
    The anatta mentioned by the blog is when you see that this pullback "self" is not real but manufactured by the mind. So the realization brings the person into more involvement and activity with the world, thereby creating a sense of immediacy with phenomena. You become more active by default.
    Buddhist philosophy of depedent arising is constantly invoked to stabilize the externalization.
    And...that's all it is.
    In my experience to conflate this as any spiritual realization or experience is so shortcoming. Please don't waste your precious lives believing that having a externalized outlook in day to day living is the extent of spirituality.
    One thing you will notice is that the externalization of intention, which is all that anatta is, does not bring bliss or love. I asked thusness some years ago and he confirmed that himself. It does bring clarity and more energy because there is no longer extra effort in rerelgating every experience back to the self (less looping, less clinging). But to say it is some enligthened state, let alone saying things like 98% of masters don't understand what it is, is very limiting and ludicrous.
    • André A. Pais I removed the original post, so we don't have a double post (and thread). Hope that's fine with John Ahn.
    • John Ahn cool thanks!
  • Arthur Deller I remember John from back in the Hall of Mirrors days.
    • André A. Pais Arthur Deller I remember him too from different groups. He's even quoted somewhat frequently in Soh's journals - always positively, if I recall correctly.

      I'll be interested in hearing John Ahn 's views and how they can help us refine our own understanding.
  • Soh Wei Yu Arthur Deller john mirra is not john ahn. Different persons
  • Arthur Deller I know he’s not Empty. But he (John Ahn) was in the group.
  • Write a reply...

  • John Ahn Another thing I will add is that the blog is dismissive of any teachings it categorizes as I AM or Presence teachings, saying how many teachers are "stuck" there. But this is a great error of equating I AM with basic ego sense.

    Hence if you take the blog in good faith, you might also find yourself becoming dismissive of many many great teachings and methods that can have amazing benefits. I regret very much how I invested in the blog so much in my earlier years of practicing as it burdened my sadhana and unnecessarily challenged my faith in other traditions.

    • André A. Pais John Ahn I don't know if it's a sensible request, but could you summarize your view and how it contrasts with the one of the AtR's blog?

      Soh usually says that I Am is important, but one has to move on. I don't think that's dismissive. If his I Am is just the ego, I find a bit implausible, but it's not a crucial thing to me.

      Anatta seems a pretty robust insight and experience, although we all agree it is to be further developed.

      More than John Tan's 7 stage model, I appreciate the 4 stage model of 1) I Am 2) Non-dual 3) Anatta and 4) Shunyata.

      What are your disagreements concerning these two models?
  • John Ahn I'm not denying any of the experiences described in the blog. I disagree with the categorization of them to equate with spiritual experiences of other traditions.

    I Am in the blog is just ego sense. The ego sense is powerful if you pullback solely on it as a literal background of everything. That's what the ego is anyway, a background. I'm sure a lot of seekers, especially mentally oriented seekers like most modern day people who do not engage much in practice, mistake this as realization because the language seems to fit and the experience is easily accessible.

    But genuine spiritual states are not that easily accessible on one's own. I learned this when I met masters and teachers who could give tastes of awareness and bliss that I could not imagine beforehand. I'm not saying these things are not innate to everyone. It is surely. But for most normal people, and that includes most of us here, tasting states of being beyond our mundane limitations is unlikely on our own, especially without strong committment to sadhana.

    So to me the blog is not really what it claims, as in it's far from the potentials of enlightenment. And that's the true shortcoming. If you become mentally convinced that this model is the end all method, then it will hinder deepening of practice due to subjugating everything into spontaneous dependent arising.
  • John Ahn One major contrast between the blog's description of I AM and other masters' description of I AM is actually there is no certainty at all in realization of Self as per their words. No certainty of being.

    It's often said it is more of a complete unknowing.

    Certainty of being however is a very accurate way to describe the ego sense. Everyone goes around really certain of their individuality.
  • André A. Pais John Ahn what lies in store in the spiritual process in your view? What is the full spectrum of the spiritual journey in your view and experience? For instance, spontaneous dependent origination seems pretty good and deep. What lies further ahead?
  • André A. Pais J Tan and Soh always say that the 7 stages are not the whole journey, that the 7th is just the beginning of an ever evolving process.
  • John Ahn I think it's important not to ask those kind of questions at all. To make a mental map of experiences that we have no clue about is a sure way to limit any potentialities and make mistakes. How can I know the full spectrum of sometheing I have yet to experience?

    But a good mark of progress is bliss and silence. Because you can lie about everything except bliss/love/silence.

    If a seeker is satisfied and happy at whatever stage they are at, then I think that is completely fine. But to write about it as if it is enlightenment and saying these teachers are here and those teachers are there is inviting a challenge.

    The blog is pretty suggestive that the 7 stages are enlightenment. But not only that but actually better than "98%" of all teachings out there.
  • John Ahn I will add one more thing.

    The blog is akin to several no-self teachings out there like LU, AF, or whatever. The core emphasis is realizing no-self. One thing you will notice is that eventually once a person has this realization of no-self, they just end up living lives centered around mundane sensual pleasures. They won't meditate much as they see that there isn't much point to committed practice. Rather just natural living is advocated. It makes sense because now the stress of self isn't there and there is nothing much to do except, well, do whatever one feels like.

    Words are so very deceiving when we learn spirituality through them. One person writes as if they are living an amazing life of "purity, vividness, liveliness" or whatever but that's a subjective measurement. One person's aliviness is not the same as another's based on past experience. If one day some more magnificent thing happens, then that past aliveness now seems pale in comparison. And there is no way to tell by mere words the true extent of that practitioner's state.

    One way to tell is via conduct. Is that person still hankering for mundane physical pleasures even when talking about the wonders of day to day, moment to moment aliveness, beauty, and wonder? Well, then there is clearly a rift there between the words and actions. There are some core spiritual ideas that should be held as anchors in my experience and one of them is whether a person is self sufficiently joyful without stimuli. If that's not the case, that that person is just another materialistic person disguised as a spiritual master.
  • André A. Pais John Ahn yes, that makes a lot of sense.
  • Hale Oh John Ahn I agree with a lot of what you are saying. The stages and maps and heavy intellectual stuff can be a huge sidetrack and provide lots of ground for grasping and laying subtle conceptualizations over our basic nature. That’s why Dzogchen and Zen are appealing to me.

    Also agree and the stirring of doubt in authentic teachers and that slowing down progress.
  • William Lim André A. Pais do you have a summary of the 4 stages?
  • André A. Pais William Lim well, actually, I always thought those 4 stages were a Soh thing, but then ended up searching his blog and journal and couldn't find it. Although it's implicit in Tan's 7 stages.

    I did write about it myself, right at the beginning of the following article. It's a draft, especially the last section on shunyata.
  • William Lim André A. Pais Very good and succinct writing! You should lend your sharpness to help edit AtR. The Anatta Bot is a data hoarder and needs a debugger ;-|
  • Soh Wei Yu The reason i created Awakening to Reality group is so that people who have similar realizations like I AM and anatta can take off my load.

    I have no time to argue with people with ill intents and negative energy. There is a reason why John Tan blocked John Ahn by merely sensing his negative energy without even john ahn speaking further. I blocked john ahn only much later.

    Enough said. I will never speak again to John Ahn. I welcome others to discuss with John Ahn, but i have no time to waste here, i have a very busy life
  • Soh Wei Yu One more thing: john ahn has never had any I AM realization. He only had I AM experiences. That is not even the first phase of Thusness Stage 1. Hence he will never understand what direct realization through self enquiry is about
  • Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Well that’s a case closed if ever I saw one.

    I understand the sentiments, Soh, but be careful not to be another Peterson?
    • Soh Wei Yu Stian Gudmundsen Høiland peterson and i have little in common

      I have no interest in being a teacher of a tradition, or even being a teacher for that matter. I am sort of anti authoritarian and not into guru system.

      However i have no time to engage in unconstructive speech and hence i have chosen to block john ahn more than a year ago

      Just as i see nothing wrong that jax has chosen to block me

      It is all good. Life is short, don’t waste time on internet

      (later clarification in another post:

      Soh Wei Yu Edmond Cigale to be frank i was on pretty good terms with jax until one day when he was basically saying how stupid the others were and i pointed out that they are actually sharper and wiser than him, he blocked me. Totally expected due to his great ego lol)
  • Soh Wei Yu Ok, i kicked him out of this group
  • Soh Wei Yu André A. Pais after some consideration, since I have blocked him and cannot moderate his posts proper, I have decided to remove him
  • Soh Wei Yu I've blocked him for maybe 1 year.. how did he come into this group? By invitation?
  • Write a reply...

  • Soh Wei Yu John Ahn said, "One thing you will notice is that the externalization of intention, which is all that anatta is, does not bring bliss or love. I asked thusness some years ago and he confirmed that himself."

    I can say that this is patently false - Thusness describes it as "incredible bliss" and has never said it does not bring bliss. It is just obviously untrue, anyone who realised anatta and stabilized it will be able to experience great bliss.


    [23:46] <^john^> Buddhism is nothing but replacing the 'Self' in Hinduism with Condition Arising.
    [23:46] <^john^> Keep the clarity, the presence, the luminosity and eliminate The ultimate 'Self', the controller, the supreme.
    [23:46] <^john^> Still u must taste, sense, eat, hear and see Pure Awareness in every authentication.
    [23:46] <^john^> And every authentication is Bliss.


    (6:09 PM) John: if longchen can stabilize [anatta] in 3 yrs time, he will be able to enter incredible bliss at will.
    (6:09 PM) AEN: what incredible bliss
    (6:10 PM) John: beyond description
    (6:10 PM) AEN: oic
    (6:10 PM) John: not a form of mundane samadhi


    John Tan:

    Great and wonderful insight!
    Just a 2 cents from a PasserBy, nothing intense.

    It is pointless to know the nature of mind is luminous and empty,
    If there is no insight that this innate nature is the direct seal of Great Bliss.

    After insight of anatta, emptiness and non-dual luminosity,
    It is advisable not to retract to practices that made mind contrive.

    Never underestimate this direct path of great ease,
    Even aeons lives of practices cannot touch the depth of its profundity.

    Deeply experience this luminous yet empty nature, its thorough effortlessness and spontaneity.
    It is the heart of Mahamudra, the great art that simply be.

    Deep bow and reverent to Naropa for this view concisely put and,
    Homage to the ground, this natural state of Great Bliss.

    Happy Journey!


    "The ‘who’, ‘where’ and ‘when’, the ‘I’, ‘here’ and ‘now’ must ultimately give way to the experience of total transparency. Do not fall back to a source, just the manifestation is sufficient. This will become so clear that total transparency is experienced. When total transparency is stabilized, transcendental body is experienced and dharmakaya is seen everywhere. This is the samadhi bliss of Bodhisattva. This is the fruition of practice."


    [15:49] <^john^> bliss is complete clarity.
    [15:50] complete clarity?
    [15:50] <^john^> when u experience the luminosity without boundary, joy will flow from all directions.
    [15:50] <^john^> yes
    [15:50] <^john^> :)
    [15:50] if bliss is complete clarity, then why do we experience bliss without clarity also?
    [15:50] <^john^> that is because it is not bliss. :P
    [15:51] then what is it?
    [15:51] joy that is not bliss?
    [15:52] <^john^> it is just a mental state that is created.
    [15:53] icic...
    [15:53] then is the bliss experienced through complete clarity, a mental state?
    [15:53] <^john^> Pure awareness is nothing of that sort.
    [15:53] <^john^> so how do we know?
    [15:54] <^john^> :)
    [15:54] bcos pure awareness is simply aware ?
    [15:54] <^john^> and what is it like?
    [15:55] dunnu
    [15:55] <^john^> the greatest joy in absorption is?
    [15:56] dunnu :P
    [15:56] <^john^> forgetting the 'self'.
    [15:56] oic...
    [15:57] <^john^> when object and subject becomes one.
    [15:57] <^john^> but then there is no clarity.
    [15:57] <^john^> the luminosity isn't there. :)
    [15:57] then what is the clarity?
    [15:58] <^john^> it is the Total Presence, Reality.
    [15:58] <^john^> u know how a mirror reflect?
    [15:58] the light reflects
    [15:59] <^john^> when u feel, sense, taste, see without a layer
    [16:00] <^john^> a layer of thought, belief, words, name, label..etc
    [16:00] <^john^> without an 'I'
    [16:00] <^john^> don't even think of it...
    [16:00] <^john^> some will tell u it is like that.


    [23:58] <^john^> pure awareness, clarity, presence...etc
    [23:58] <^john^> thoughts, self, ego...etc
    [23:58] <^john^> when there is too strong of 'ego', experience more suffering.
    [23:58] <^john^> so is 'self'
    [23:59] <^john^> when u experience everything as pure awareness, there is complete blissfulness
    [23:59] <^john^> everything arising becomes bliss.
  • Direct Seal of Great Bliss
    Direct Seal of Great Bliss
    Direct Seal of Great Bliss
  • Soh Wei Yu John Tan, 2007:
    "Like samatha meditation, each jhana state represents a stage of bliss associated with certain level of concentration; the bliss experienced from insight into our nature differs.

    The happiness and pleasure experience by a dualistic mind is different from that experienced by a practitioner. “I AMness” is a higher form of happiness as compared to a dualistic mind that continuously chatters. It is a level of bliss associated with a state of ‘transcendence’ – a state of bliss resulting from the experience of “formlessness, odorless, colorless, attributes and thoughtlessness’. No-self or non-dual is higher form of bliss resulted from the direct experience of Oneness and no-separation. It is related to the dropping of the ‘I’. When non-dual is free from perceptions, that bliss is a form transcendence-oneness. It is what I called transparency of non-duality."
  • Soh Wei Yu 2006:

    (6:01 PM) John: the bond is loosen to a great extend, the energy is released.
    (6:02 PM) John: i said i almost floated. :P
    (6:02 PM) AEN: oo.. icic
    (6:03 PM) John: but i did not write about other experiences...coz many of them in the forum, the mind aren't mature yet.
    (6:03 PM) John: it is not really good to write about certain experiences
    (6:04 PM) AEN: oic..
    (6:04 PM) AEN: what kind of other experience?
    (6:04 PM) John: and i do not want JonLS to experience it too until total transparency is stabilized.
    (6:04 PM) AEN: oic
    (6:04 PM) AEN: wat kind of experience
    (6:04 PM) John: cannot tell.
    (6:04 PM) AEN: hahaha
    (6:04 PM) AEN: ok
    (6:04 PM) John: just focus on the Bliss. :)
    (6:04 PM) John: we will not want anything else.
    (6:04 PM) AEN: oic..
    (6:05 PM) John: in fact i refused to enter into it before fetters are cleared. :)
    (6:05 PM) AEN: oic.. u mean.. bliss?
    (6:05 PM) John: bliss of course must experience lah
    (6:05 PM) John: lol
    (6:05 PM) AEN: hahaha icic
    (6:05 PM) John: the next step is to let him take this idea of 'bond' seriously.
    (6:05 PM) AEN: icic..
    (6:06 PM) John: coz many western spiritual masters tend to over emphasize luminosity
  • Soh Wei Yu 2006:

    (11:36 PM) Thusness: being open isn't that difficult so it's okie to educate.
    (11:37 PM) AEN: icic..
    (11:37 PM) Thusness: it is not like an intuitive experience
    (11:37 PM) Thusness: esp non-duality and emptiness nature
    (11:37 PM) Thusness: then the conditions must be there
    (11:37 PM) Thusness: if not that there is no way one can understand it.
    (11:38 PM) Thusness: after experiencing it, we will have no doubt
    (11:38 PM) AEN: oic..
    (11:38 PM) Thusness: and the experience of the joy and bliss will carry the practitioner forward
    (11:38 PM) AEN: icic..
    (11:41 PM) Thusness: wah...longchen like dharma protector like that. :P
    (11:41 PM) AEN: hahaha yea
    (11:42 PM) Thusness: that is the faith that one has after direct experience.
  • Soh Wei Yu 2007:

    (11:31 PM) Thusness: there is a level of non-dual that longchen have not experienced yet
    (11:31 PM) Thusness: it is the finer level of experience
    (11:32 PM) Thusness: i call it a state of transparency
    (11:32 PM) Thusness: i will always tell ppl to experience transparency
    (11:32 PM) Thusness: and feel the bliss
    (11:33 PM) Thusness: but they might not know what i meant
    (11:33 PM) Thusness: only when the level of non-dual is up to a certain level then one will experience it
    (11:34 PM) Thusness: after this then when one tok about DO and emptiness, then has a bit of weight.
    (11:34 PM) Thusness: otherwise u may say all is spontaneous arising, but really it is karmic propensities in action.
    (11:35 PM) Thusness: mistaken what that is mechanical and routineness for our boundless luminous nature that is miraculously spontaneous
    (11:35 PM) Thusness: this we have to know
  • Soh Wei Yu 2007:

    (1:06 AM) Thusness: not that there is no understanding of One Reality
    (1:07 AM) Thusness: there is but the depth differs.
    (1:07 AM) Thusness: and the experience differs in depth when the emptiness nature is experienced.
    (1:08 AM) Thusness: this has to do with the intensity of the 7 factors of enlightenment
    (1:08 AM) Thusness: every intuitive experience will intensify these factors
    (1:08 AM) Thusness: and experience different level of bliss and joy
    (1:09 AM) AEN: oo icic
    (1:09 AM) Thusness: when one is beyond the conceptual level
    (1:10 AM) Thusness: the understanding becomes like a mixture of the factors of enlightenment
    (1:10 AM) Thusness: it is these factors that creates the "knowing" as a form of fruition
    (1:10 AM) Thusness: brightness, bliss, joy...etc
    (1:11 AM) Thusness: clarity
    (1:11 AM) Thusness: these are the form of "knowing" that one has
    (1:11 AM) AEN: oic..
    (1:14 AM) Thusness: there is no confusion, they are always these factors that bring the practitioner moves forward and understand more
    (1:14 AM) Thusness: not because buddha said so, these factors are just there
    (1:14 AM) Thusness: and one naturally knows he is in the correct path
    (1:14 AM) Thusness: just like one felt the presence, he knows
    (1:15 AM) Thusness: when one experience the Eternal Witness, the experience is so unique and clear that he knows
    (1:15 AM) Thusness: but the experience is misinterpreted
    (1:15 AM) Thusness: and lost
  • Soh Wei Yu 2007:

    (12:30 AM) Thusness: after one experiences non-dual, he should be very thorough in eliminating the background and deconstructing symbols till complete nakedness.
    (12:30 AM) Thusness: the more i experience, the more respect i have for Buddha. :)
    (12:30 AM) AEN: icic..
    (12:32 AM) Thusness: u must practice till u find tremendous joy and bliss in no-self.
    (12:32 AM) Thusness: then practice will become effortless.
  • Soh Wei Yu 2007:

    (7:34 PM) Thusness: when one is able to experience our nature as it is, the bliss experienced is different.
    (7:35 PM) AEN: oic
    (7:35 PM) Thusness: The experience and bliss of an eternal witness observing the transient and the full experience of just the transient is different.
    (7:36 PM) Thusness: the bliss and clarity of no-self is of a different dimension.
  • Soh Wei Yu 2008:
    (11:09 PM) Thusness: stage 1 can be very blissful too.
    (11:09 PM) AEN: icic..
    (11:09 PM) Thusness: when the meditative strength is there.
    (11:09 PM) Thusness: but there is no understanding of the 'forms'
    (11:09 PM) Thusness: only the pure sense of existence
    (11:09 PM) Thusness: in thought realm.
    (11:10 PM) Thusness: not in the 'forms'.
    (11:10 PM) Thusness: u should know by now.
  • Soh Wei Yu John Tan wrote to Sim Pern Chong (longchen/simpo) in 2006:

    Haha...the intuitive experience of non-duality must have made u appreciate deeply the profound teaching of anatta and emptiness.The joy and bliss of total transparency will make us drop from our chairs (it can take few years)...Happy Journey. :)
  • Soh Wei Yu And now you see why I like to meditate in parks? haha
  • Soh Wei Yu Sim also wrote in 2007:

    "Also, there are various depths of non-duality. There are levels where there is perception but there is no expereincer... one is ONE with perception. However, there are level that sensorial perception is deconstructed. At this level, cognition of things, environments, objects, person is also deconstructed... what remained is an inconcievable depthless brilliance.... a most blissful brilliance. "
  • Soh Wei Yu John Tan, 2007

    "4. Only one tremendous spontaneous clarity flows, there is no differentiation between what that spins the earth or what that pumps your heart beats or what that makes the plants grow. When you eat an apple, it is the entire universe that eats the apple. Just one whole clarity spontaneity flow. Continual experience of transcendence joy and bliss."

  • The Different Degrees of Non-Duality
    The Different Degrees of Non-Duality
    The Different Degrees of Non-Duality
  • Soh Wei Yu I was just telling another friend the other day that they can sense my radiance and joy and my mere presence is able to alter their mood. I'm psychotropic. 😂

    Many times, and many - not just one - people that meet me ask me why I look so blissful for seemingly no reasons.
  • Soh Wei Yu 2008:

    (11:56 AM) Thusness: longchen is like entering the 18 dhatus.
    (11:56 AM) AEN: icic..
    (11:57 AM) Thusness: or into DO (dependent origination)
    (11:57 AM) Thusness: just the arising and passing away
    (11:57 AM) Thusness: without the need for a center, a locality in a non-conceptual mode. :)
    (11:58 AM) AEN: oic..
    (11:59 AM) Thusness: depending on the depth of clarity and the ability to drop, there is a very deep joy in whatever arises in a normal condition.
    (12:00 PM) Thusness: it is a sort of bliss of luminous presence without the sense of self, division, locality and conceptuality
    (12:00 PM) Thusness: it can also turn into a sort of absorption.
    (12:00 PM) Thusness: that is the result of clear insight of our empty luminosity.
    (12:00 PM) Thusness: not the result of deep concentration.
    (12:01 PM) Thusness: this is very difficult to understand.
    (12:01 PM) Thusness: it is an effortless absorption.
  • Soh Wei Yu 2009:

    (2:00 AM) Thusness: i wrote in luminousemptiness
    (2:01 AM) Thusness: that if luminosity and emptiness is taught but there is no realisation that it is the great bliss
    (2:01 AM) Thusness: then one has not realised anything
    (2:02 AM) Thusness: but chodpa said, not that it is pointless but just a step along the path
    (2:02 AM) Thusness: so what is it the geat bliss?
    (2:03 AM) AEN: absorption in luminosity?
    i dunno
    (2:03 AM) AEN: i have experience of bliss but dunnu if its wat u mean
    (2:04 AM) Thusness: it is actually a sort of absorption
    (2:04 AM) AEN: ya i notice theres bliss when theres absorption
    (2:04 AM) Thusness: will talk about that next time
    i think i will write about anatta
    (2:04 AM) AEN: icic..
    (2:04 AM) Thusness: so that u don't
    get confused
    (2:05 AM) Thusness: with non-dual
    (2:05 AM) AEN: oic..
    (2:05 AM) Thusness: anatta is about no agent
    (2:05 AM) Thusness: clarity that there is no agent
    (2:05 AM) AEN: icic..
    (2:05 AM) Thusness: and because there is no agent, it has to be direct
    (2:06 AM) AEN: oic
    means in the sound just the sound
    (2:06 AM) Thusness: it is naturally non dual
  • Soh Wei Yu 2009:

    (3:48 PM) Thusness: initially he wanted to go into shamatha
    (3:49 PM) Thusness: that is why i spoke of the great bliss and the practice of the great ease
    (3:49 PM) AEN: icic..
    (3:49 PM) Thusness: and also emphasize that all is mind.
    (3:49 PM) Thusness: but now after emptiness, he must also see another stuff.
    that is the maha experience of suchness to complete it.
  • Soh Wei Yu Ok, way too many things said about bliss and I have only glanced through 2005-2009 conversations. I won't touch 2009-2019 as it's gonna take up lots of time
  • Soh Wei Yu Also, non-dual luminosity is blissful but not liberating, emptiness is what liberates. Other religions focus on the non-dual luminosity but not necessarily the same as the liberation focused in buddhadharma:

    Session Start: Sunday, 12 September, 2010

    "(12:15 AM) Thusness: Thorough ‘aliveness’ also requires ‘you’ to disappear. It is an experience of being totally ‘transparent’ and without boundaries. If you do not fall back to a background, these experiences are quite obvious, u will not miss it.
    (12:22 AM) Thusness: In addition to bringing this ‘taste’ to the foreground, u must also ‘realize’ the difference between wrong and right view. There is also a difference in saying “Different forms of Aliveness” and “There is just breath, sound, scenery…”
    (12:23 AM) Thusness: that these arising dependently originates.
    (12:24 AM) Thusness: In the former case, realize how the mind is manifesting a subtle tendency of attempting to ‘pin’ and locate something that inherently exists. The mind feels uneasy and needs to seek for something due to its existing paradigm.
    . It is not simply a matter of expression for communication sake but a habit that runs deep because it lacks a ‘view’ that is able to cater for reality that is dynamic, ungraspable, non-local , center-less and interdependent.
    (12:25 AM) Thusness: Otherwise the mind will continue to locate and seek.
    (12:26 AM) Thusness: Lastly also understand that 'bliss' is the result of luminosity, 'liberation' is the result of the insight of emptiness."

    "(1:28 PM) Thusness: means u truly see the erroneous view of dualistic and inherent view
    (1:28 PM) AEN: icic..
    (1:28 PM) Thusness: then u will understand what liberates
    a blissful state does not liberates u"

    "Hi Simpo,
    How have you been getting on? I am planning for my retirement.

    I think after stabilizing non-dual experience and maturing the insight of anatta, practice must turn towards ‘self-releasing’ and ‘dispassion’ rather than intensifying ‘non-dual’ luminosity. Although being bare in attention or naked in awareness will help in dissolving the sense of ‘I’ and division, we must also look into dissolving the sense of ‘mine’. In my opinion, dissolving of the sense of ‘I’ does not equate to dissolving the sense of ‘mine’ and attachment to possessions can still be strong even after very stable non-dual experience. This is because the former realization only mange to eliminate the dualistic tendency while the latter requires us to embody and actualize the right view of ‘emptiness’. Very seldom do we realize it has a lot to do with our ‘view’ that we hold in our deep most consciousness. We must allow our luminous essence to meet differing conditions to realise the latent deep. All our body cells are imprinted and hardwired to ‘hold’. Not to under-estimate it. " - 2010?
  • Write a reply...

  • William Lim The Anatta Bot crushes it again - Destruction by Information Overload :)
  • Soh Wei Yu on love:

    AtR guide:

    Compassion and Loving-Kindness

    Compassion is vital to one’s practice and progression. Many years ago, John Tan informed me that he was expecting to have some breakthrough from the front of wisdom and insight for many years, and yet unexpectedly the breakthrough he was expecting came from compassion.

    “You just have to be less conceptual. What is more important is to boldly let go of self and practice metta (Loving-Kindness). It is the best way to actualize anatta.” - John Tan, 2018

    “Anatta does not deny you from being compassionate, contrary it opens up your mind, body and heart fully.” - John Tan, 2019

    “I have had experiences of love more powerful than maybe anything else, with no trace of subjectivity, just love experiencing itself, justifying itself.” - Bill Finch,

    "My practice isn't esoteric but direct, simple empty clarity and compassion. My entire experience is currently free and liberating... and fills with joyous reverence and compassion. Very happy. An open expanse of brilliance clarity beyond description... without dual and solidity. My entire being is filled with/embraced will this clean, pure boundless insubstantial radiance freedom... energy dancing joyously and like gonna burst. I just want this empty clarity to be as natural as possible with this reverence and compassionate taste. Once your empty clarity becomes clear, powerfully present and naturally non-dual without concern of maintaining... the 3 states (waking, dreaming and deep sleep) will have a single taste. Deep Sleep and waking will share a single taste of bliss as if it is a perfection seamless continuum ... There is no concern. The strong presence will guide you... The greater the strength of this insubstantial brilliance clarity, the lesser the concerns. Only when our presence is weak there is the problem with distractions. It is like when a bodhisattva filled with compassion is not distracted with own suffering at all." ~ John Tan, 2014

    "Sometimes I wonder why must the topic frequently oscillate between emptiness and preserving an indestructible essence.

    Perhaps after experiencing the boundless brilliance, the aliveness, we feel deep down we must somehow exist in a true, solid and substantial way. The more we experience our radiance clarity, the more difficult for us to let go. This I understand. Maybe we should channel some bits of our time and energy towards understanding the relationship between compassion and emptiness.

    When watching Garchen Rinpoche movie that Piotr sent me, it seems that to Garchen Rinpoche, nothing matters more than sentient beings. Whether there “is or isn’t” an essence seems to be a non-issue; if there is, he would joyfully and generously sacrifice for the benefits of sentient beings when needed. This is what I gathered from the movie.

    I am beginning to see why Nagarjuna asserted that emptiness is the womb of compassion.

    I am beginning to understand without the awakening of Bodhichitta, there is no true realization of emptiness.

    I am beginning to see why Bodhicitta and wisdom are the causes of Buddhahood.

    May Bodhicitta be awakened in our authentic mindstreams.

    Homage to Bodhicitta.” - John Tan, 2013
  • Awakening to Reality: A Guide to the Nature of Mind
    Awakening to Reality: A Guide to the Nature of Mind
    Awakening to Reality: A Guide to the Nature of Mind
  • Soh Wei Yu Everyone is welcome to discuss, debate and hold opposing opinions with me or anyone. However if you are blocked by me, and so far I have only ever blocked one person in my 12 years of using facebook - John Ahn - then I am sorry but i will remove you as I am unable to see and moderate posts started by you.

    I have also been blocked by only one person in my 12 years of using Facebook and that happens to be jackson peterson. Lol
    • André A. Pais Soh Wei Yu that would be a good opportunity for you to trust the moderation of other moderators... 😅
  • Write a reply...

  • Robert Dominik 1. Writing about the importance of bliss and qualities of enlightenment but complaining about wasting time and writing something full of bitterness and blame at the same time.
    2. Conflating somebody's sharp intelectual faculties and choosing a particular form of writing expression (long stuff loaded with information) with lack of experiental realisation (aka antintelectualism).
    3. Straw man arguments (mistaking Anatta for mere seeing through personal identity and claiming that the oponent conflates I Am with that).
    4. Accusing somebody to be stuck in concepts because the other person uses maps of insight which do not put on pedestal certain paths. Mistaking not seeing finding liberative wisdom in certain teachings for close mindnedness.
    5. Blaming the person who was once seen as a mentor/guide/rolemodel for one's own past spiritual attitudes, opinions and lack of development - dumping responsibility

    I expected more of John Ahn
    For the record im not criticising the person here but the message. I find John to be a honest spiritual practitioner who is genuinely devoted to his particular form of sprituality.
  • Soh Wei Yu Also making strawman versions of I AM. The I AM that john tan and i describe is nothing like his version.
  • Soh Wei Yu He is very much into I AM now but has not had the realization
  • Soh Wei Yu John ahn also had glimpses of no mind (not anatta) but he did not realise Presence (although he had experiences) and hence he did not understand that our anatta includes the I AM presence, nothing is denied but made uncontrived, centerless and effortless. Anything lacking Presence is not our anatta.

    “After the maturity of anatta insight and twofold emptiness (which will be discussed later in this document), eventually there is effortless, ongoing and intense experience of "everything as Self", "As in that experience of I AM powerfully present at this moment", "As if like Awareness clear and open like space, without meditation yet powerfully present and non-dual. Where the 4 Aspects of I AM are fully experienced in this moment. This experience will become more and more powerful later yet effortless and uncontrived. How so? If it is not correct insights and practice, how is it possible for such complete and total experience of effortless and uncontrived Presence be possible?". "Indeed and this is being authenticated by the immediate moment of experience. How could there be doubt about it. The last trace of Presence must be released with seeing through the emptiness nature of whatever arises. After maturing and integrating your insights into practice, there must be no effort and action.... The entire whole is doing the work and arises as this vivid moment of shimmering appearance, this has always been what we always called Presence." "Yes and you should in all moment of 6 entries and exits experience all coming together for this moment to arise....this will dissolve all senses of holdings and will lead you effortless and maha experience of suchness effortlessly", "interpenetration, open, boundless, effortless and uncontrived." (John, 2012)” - AtR Guide
    “The anatta I realized is quite unique. It is not just a realization of no-self. But it must first have an intuitive insight of Presence. Otherwise will have to reverse the phases of insights.” - John Tan, 2018

    - Also from AtR Guide
  • Soh Wei Yu In fact anatta is the fundamental key towards effortless, total and uncontrived Presence. Without anatta it would not be possible
  • André A. Pais I just find it saddening that in a group full of aspiring bodhisattvas (and perhaps even some actualized ones), we're unable of having a constructive and healthy conversation.
  • Soh Wei Yu It would be naive to think that we can have constructive conversations with everyone. As the saying goes, even Buddha cannot save someone who does not have the yuan (condition)
  • Frank Trenholm "You become more active by default", about says it all...
  • Jenny Jennings Foerst It always amazes me: The unfounded confidence with which some people map and declare "truths" above their current practice pay grade. The mind can't know what it fails to know.
  • Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Let me translate Andrè's question, Jenny:

    > Are you with us or against us?

  • Robert Dominik Well to balance the energy out I will say that I have greatly benefited from Soh's blog. Lately this came to a fruition: breakthrough into complete, utter and irreversible certainty of impossibility of any selfhood. Experiental insight (will write some report soon).

    I get why some people might not benefit from the blog. Sometimes the stuff Soh writes is pretty loaded with info and terminology. But thats just the style. Only people pleasers think you can suit all tastes.
    Also the blog really does not offer that much regarding concentration, yogic practise or devotion. Its mostly centered around insight. For good reason - its precise and unforgiving in this field.
    Obviously most people need other forms of spiritual discipline but the blog does not demand exclusivity and from what I remember Soh and Thusness sometimes share recommendations like Somatic Meditation etc (which inspired me greatly).

    Also I think the problem is that some people like to read the blog, learn the lingo and maps and then parcitipate in discussions pretending they understand (like me a couple of years ago). However one should be critical, constantly check and really, precisely verify everything the blog suggests in ones meditation and behavior. Just parroting Soh and Thusness does not qualify for a path towards achieving same results.
    And that happens to every spiritual guide. Sometimes also there is needed certain chemistry between the mentor and the one who is learning. That depends on karma etc.

    I personally would like to thank Soh Wei Yu and John Tan.
    Without the blog Id be stuck in neoadvaita land I guess or I would project neoadvaita and new age views onto Buddhadharma thus blocking my practice. Also I met Malcolm and Dzogchen via Dharma Connection group. Its my main path and though I do not share some of the Soh's opinions regarding my root Guru CHNNR - I am very grateful and fond of their work.
  • Robert Dominik PS: Regarding maps.

    Thusness from the get go was honest that the map is not ultimate. In todays spiritual landscape it is really hard to map all the various teachings and insights. But the maps and classifications are useful in wordly business (like for distinguishing music) and in spiritual field too (theyve been part of the deal for thousands of years). No map is perfect but the purpose is to give some tools to orient oneself instead of being fumbling in the dark. 7 stages model does a pretty decent job and works where many projects like the famous Hawkins scale or Wilber model fail.

  • Jenny Jennings Foerst It always amazes me: The unfounded confidence with which some people map and declare "truths" above their current practice pay grade. The mind can't know what it fails to know.
  • Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Let me translate Andrè's question, Jenny:

    > Are you with us or against us?
  • Soh Wei Yu I think Jenny is referring to John Ahn commenting about I AM and anatta without having realized it, but she can confirm
  • André A. Pais Since John Ahn presented himself against maps, I'm assuming Jenny is actually referring to the whole mapping thing happening in this group... 🤔
  • Soh Wei Yu I see. Jenny told me previously that she has no doubts I have gone through those stages, so I don't think she is referring to John Tan, me, or others in this group who has gone through the process?
  • Soh Wei Yu André A. Pais i think she might be referring to daniel ingram and his claim to “arahantship”
  • Jenny Jennings Foerst Soh has it right, except that I was not thinking of Daniel. I am not referring to anyone here.
  • Jenny Jennings Foerst I don't know John Ahn personally, so I was responding only to the quote. I generalized an impression from the quote. Forums generally don't work for me, esp. large ones. The most frequent and loudest naysayers of this or that level of practice haven't See More
  • Soh Wei Yu yes and john ahn already has notions about an ultimate despite saying one should not hold notions of what one hasnt realised

    And what he holds to be ultimate is the I AM of the vedanta school

    And wrongly projects that what i realised is lesser than his version of I AM

  • Soh Wei Yu i do think that buddhadharma is more subtle and indepth than vedanta based on my experience and realisation

    He cant accept that and so be it. He seems to be disturbed by others who do not agree with him
  • Soh Wei Yu Also as per buddhadharma, knowledge of emptiness, the nature of mind, is a very specific knowledge. You either have it and have complete certainty in it or you do not, and there is no middle. There is no mystery or unknowing involved in realising and actualizing the nature of mind which is empty clarity.

    As lopon malcolm pointed out, The realisation or knowledge of emptiness at the first bhumi is identical with that of a buddha. The only difference is in terms of obscurations eliminated, qualities attained, etc

    Even the first bhumi must have realised what the ultimate is, but it does not mean one has all the qualities of shakyamuni buddha. But a first bhumi is an arya, an awakened person
  • Soh Wei Yu So when john ahn says that i imply i am enlightened, i have to say it depends on what definition he is using it for. Actually the more traditional and proper term is awakening.

    Enlightenment or awakening, as in realising the nature of mind, sure. I do
    not make it subtle that i am indeed enlightened and so are a couple of others in this group. John tan plainly told me more than ten years ago that he is enlightened. There is no doubt that he, me, and some others here are enlightened.

    But buddhahood? I doubt there is a single soul (oops, or no-souls) that is a buddha on this planet in this day and age. Maybe there are but i am not easily convinced and will need to see and interrogate that person myself. Lol
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        Bliss of anatta
        Every year on my bday I will write a list like “ten things I learn this year”. 🤣 I was writing it this morning..
        Then I fell back onto the couch for an hour, watch the fan on the ceiling, a deep bliss course through, every sensation is bliss, happening by itself like a magical display, every sensation is so blissful. What a weird gift. Even my moms nagging is blissful 🤣
        So weird. So simple. I’m getting stupider by the year, and It’s really great 🤣
        Yet I know to reach such simplicity has taken me so much effort. What a year. Thank you❤️
        Happy new year, May 2022 be a happy one for you. May you be well. ❤️


        Yin Ling
        You and John Tan has helped tremendously thank you ❤️

        • Reply
        • 9h

        John Tan
        Yin Ling 😝 Btw happy birthday and happy new year!

        • Reply
        • 9h
        • Edited

      • Yin Ling
        John Tan thank you!

        • Reply
        • 8h

      • Yin Ling
        And happy new year to both of you!!!

        • Reply
        • 8h

      • Soh Wei Yu
        Yin Ling happy birthday and happy new year!

      • Reply
      • 8h