[1:46 AM, 11/8/2020] Soh: malcolm says this quote by buddha from the pali canon: "Viññanam anidassanam from the Kevatta sutta:
Consciousness without feature, without end, luminous all around"
[1:47 AM, 11/8/2020] Soh: is equivalent to dzogchen pristine consciousness
The view is self-originated pristine consciousness, free from the extreme of the dualism of an apprehended object and an apprehending subject.
— Self-Liberated Vidyā Tantra"
[7:52 AM, 11/8/2020] John Tan: Yes. But how it is understood.
[8:01 AM, 11/8/2020] John Tan: Can be I AM, can be anatta.
[8:05 AM, 11/8/2020] John Tan: This I m aware all along. Malcolm doesn't understand zen, they r pointing to the same essence and nature. The only difference is Dzogchen is strong in view and clear about freedom from extremes and mmk.
[Comments by Soh: I don't think Malcolm is saying Zen is not pointing to the same realization, as Malcolm also stated, "There really is no difference between perfection of wisdom, mahāmudra, Chan/Zen, etc., and tregchöd.
I have heard it said that Tulku Orgyen asserted that trekchöd exists in
all yānas, perhaps EPK would be kind enough to confirm this. What
separates from trekchöd from these other systems of the method of
introduction. Trekchöd, like any secret mantra practice, is based on
[8:55 AM, 11/8/2020] John Tan: Once we r free subject-object duality, consciousness/appearance is without feature, without end and luminous all around. So is there realization about mere appearances is key otherwise It is just reification of consciousness.
p.s. another term in Dzogchen is Zang Thal:
Kyle Dixon, "The reality of mind for him is non-arising which would be anatta
The difference between gsal ba and zang thal is difference between clarity experienced as background subject and clarity totally freed from that through realizing anatta"
He also wrote,
"Cognitive clarity is your cognizance reified as a subject, a self, while zangthal is that same aspect totally freed of all extremes and conditions."
The place where there is no earth, fire, wind, space, water…
is the place where the earth, fire, wind, space and water kills “You” and fully shines as its own radiance, a complete taste of itself and fully itself.”)
“So as quickly as a strong man could extend his arm or draw it back, that monk disappeared from the Brahmā realm and reappeared on
earth. He went to the Blessed One, saluted him, sat down at one side, and said: ‘Venerable sir, where do the four elements cease without
remainder?’ The Buddha replied, ‘You’ve been wandering around as far as the Brahmā realm asking this question. And now not finding
it, you come back to me. But, monk, you should not ask your question in that way – where do the four elements cease without
remainder? Instead, this is how the question should be put:
Where do earth, water, fire and air no footing find?
Where do long and short, small and great, beautiful and ugly -
Where do name-and-form completely come to an end?
And the answer is:
Where consciousness is signless, limitless, and all-illuminating.
That’s where earth, water, fire and air no footing find.
There both long and short, small and great, beautiful and ugly,
there name-and-form all come to an end.
With the cessation of consciousness, all this comes to an end.”†
This is a bit cryptic. The wrong question is “Where do the four elements cease without remainder?” The right question is “Where do the
four elements no footing find?” This harkens back to the verses after the Bāhiya sutta, where the Buddha says where the four elements
no footing find, there dark and light don’t occur. Here, he expands the teaching to say it’s where consciousness is signless, limitless, and
When you see a table, you’re seeing the signs of a table. It’s got a flat top and legs holding it up off the ground. That’s how you know
it’s a table. You pick up the cues, the signs. So what does it mean that consciousness is signless? How about a consciousness that is,
well, in seeing is just seeing, in hearing is just hearing, in sensing is just sensing, in cognizing is just cognizing? How about a
consciousness that is not fabricating, not concocting a table, not giving birth to a table, not making this a table? It’s a way of
experiencing the world without fixating in any way on the objects or characteristics of any object being sensed – or on the one doing the
sensing. It's looking at the world from a non-dual perspective.
Nibbāna is not a thing. It doesn’t have ontological existence. It’s a realization. It’s a realization that there is nothing but streams of
dependently originated processes interacting, without even making a thing out of the streams. If you concoct “stream,” you still have not
quite gotten all the way to the point. Every thing is not a thing, it’s just dependent on other things which aren’t things. It’s a little hard to
talk about. You can see why the Buddha says it’s not this and it’s not that.
It’s consciousness that is signless. But it's not just your ordinary open awareness – which is also a form of consciousness that is signless.
Indeed open awareness/Bāhiya practice is certainly helpful in gaining this realization. But the realization of Nibbāna does seem to
require a breakthrough to a much deeper understanding – an understanding that is so profound that it permanently changes the way you
experience the world. The best totally inadequate simile I can offer is to ask you to remember what it was like when you found out there
was no Santa Claus (apologies to those of you who never believed in Santa Claus – it is an inadequate simile). I remember I saw the
world differently. There was fear – fear I wouldn't be getting any more of those really premium Christmas presents. But there was also a
different way of seeing the world and of relating to the big guy in the red suit. The world wasn't any different, but I was. The
breakthrough experience of Nibbāna is a realization so profound it permanently changes you and your relationship to the world. And a
very important component of what is experienced is signless consciousness.’”‡
When consciousness is signless, it’s also limitless. There can’t be any limits because a limit would be a sign. You’re not concocting the
end of this consciousness, it really is all-encompassing, and it’s all-illuminating. When viewing from this viewpoint, when realizing in
this way, nothing is hidden. Everything is experienced to be dependent on other things. Nothing stands alone. And nothing is a thing, it’s
all verbs, it’s all processes, but they aren’t individual processes. One gets this huge, giant picture of, I guess you could say, unfolding.
Not “the unfolding,” because that makes it a noun, a thing – there’s just unfolding. Can you experience the world like that? Can you
experience the inconstant, unsatisfactory, empty nature of phenomena, without resorting to dualities or even signs? Then your
consciousness is signless, limitless, and all-illuminating. That’s where earth, water, fire and air no footing find. There long and short,
small and great, beautiful and ugly; there name-and-form all come to an end.
The last line is really puzzling. “With the cessation of consciousness, all this comes to an end.” Does that mean you have to become
unconscious? The usual explanation is that, at a path moment – a momentary experience of Nibbāna – there’s a cessation experience
where everything stops, then it starts up again, only it’s really different on the other side. That turns out not to be what’s being talked
about here, because the idea of “path moments” is from the later commentaries and this is a sutta.
The word viññāṇa which we translate as “consciousness” literally means “divided knowing.” When divided knowing comes to an end,
all these dualities come to an end. When we stop chopping up the holistic unfolding into bits and pieces, then all this comes to an end.
As Ud 8.1 says, “Just this is the end of dukkha.”
This required holistic experience is expressed so very eloquently by Kitaro Nishida in his work The Nothingness Beyond God:
Pure experience is the beginning of Zen. It is awareness stripped of all thought, all conceptualization, all categorization, and all
distinctions between subject-as-having-an-experience and experience-as-having-been-had-by-a-subject. It is prior to all judgment.
Pure experience is without all distinction; it is pure no-thingness, pure no-this-or-that. It is empty of any and all distinctions. It is
absolutely no-thing at all. Yet its emptiness and nothingness is a chock-a-block fullness, for it is all experience-to-come. It is rose,
child, river, anger, death, pain, rocks, and cicada sounds. We carve these discrete events and entities out of a richer-yet-non-
distinct manifold of pure experience."
- “Where do water, earth, fire, & windhave no footing?Where are long & short,coarse & fine,fair & foul,name & formbrought to an end?"'And the answer to that is:Consciousness without feature,without end,luminous all around:Here water, earth, fire, & windhave no footing.Here long & shortcoarse & finefair & foulname & formare all brought to an end.With the cessation of [the activity of] consciousnesseach is here brought to an end.'"- DN 11
Anurag JainThese quotations are well-explained in detail by Venerable Ñānananda without any need to resort to jumping to wrong conclusions that:- There is some “independent transcendent consciousness apart from the six sense bases”- That this viññāna anidassanam can even be equated with nibbāna at all- That this refers to anything but the mind when it stops ignorantly bifurcating appearances into a reified “Self vs World”
1AuthorAll Thai forest teachers that I know of are eternalists stuck at I AM and one mind with the exception of:Ajahn BuddhadhasaPhra Kovit Khemananda (Ajahn Buddhadhasa's student)Ajahn Nyanamoli TheroAjahn BrahmavamsoAuthorThe good thing is that with a heavy emphasis on Awareness teachings, they lead to the direct realization of Awareness (I AM and so on)Some of the non-Thai forest Theravadins are prone to annihilation type states. Like Thusness Stage 3.Of course, in a very small minority (this is the case for all Buddhist traditions), they realise anatta and do not fall into extremes.