Also see:

The Tendency to Extrapolate a Universal Consciousness

No Universal Mind

No Universal Mind, Part 2


Explanation by Krodha is good.

From page 118 of the book ‘Inborn Realization’ by Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal

“There is not and will never be a single mind that is shared by everyone—there will always be limitless individual minds. Everyone, whether enlightened or not, has his or her own mind. Each individual mind can and does reflect everything and everybody. For these reasons, the teachings say that everyone is the sovereign ruler of his or her universe.”

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From page 118 of the book ‘Inborn Realization’ by Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal “There is not and will never be a single mind that is shared by everyone—there will always be limitless individual minds. Everyone, whether enlightened or not, has his or her own mind. Each individual mind can and does reflect everything and everybody. For these reasons, the teachings say that everyone is the sovereign ruler of his or her universe.”

Very nice.

This seems to bother some people, but if they understood that removing the two obscurations unbinds the mind and exhausts the bifurcation into an inner subjective experience versus an outer external world, and everything is then experienced as one’s own immaculate self-display, then perhaps they would not object to multiple conventional mindstreams.

It seems this issue always boils down to people struggling with how convention is understood and applied.

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Can you please throw some light on "removing the two obscurations unbinds the mind" . Also my conceptual mind is telling me that when you say "experienced as one’s own immaculate self-display" it means it will feel like watching a life film of my character(neoalien)

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two obscurations

Two obscurations (Tib. སྒྲིབ་པ་གཉིས་, dribpa nyi; Wyl. sgrib pa gnyis) — emotional and cognitive obscurations.

Emotional obscurations are defined according to their essence, cause and function.

In essence, they are the opposite of the six paramitas, as described in the Gyü Lama:

"Thoughts such as avarice and so on,

These are the emotional obscurations."

Their cause is grasping at a personal ego, or the “self of the individual”.

They function to prevent liberation from samsara.

Cognitive obscurations are also defined according to their essence, cause and function.

In essence, they are thoughts that involve the three conceptual ‘spheres’ of subject, object and action. The Gyü Lama says:

"Thoughts that involve the three spheres,

These are the cognitive obscurations."

Their cause is grasping at phenomena as truly existent, or, in other words, the “self of phenomena”.

Their function is to prevent complete enlightenment.

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wow great!

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The two obscurations are at root, the afflictive obscuration which is the perception of an internal self, and the cognitive obscuration, which is the perception of external objects.

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7 Responses
  1. Kobe Says:

    Hi Soh. If possible, can you please clarify the difference between "all is mind" and "anatta"? I'm currently experiencing similar to what Bardor Rinpoche is describing here:

    "What we are attempting to do in the practice of meditation is search for and discover our mind. So as explained here, we search for the mind externally, outside ourselves. And then we search for the mind internally, within ourselves. When it’s said that we discover that the mind is not outside of us and the mind is not inside of us, it might be more proper to say that we discover that there is nowhere that the mind isn’t. We discover that no matter how far we think we’re looking away, how far we think away from our mind we’re going, we’re not going away from our mind. No matter how far outside ourselves we look for the mind, it’s still just the mind looking at and looking for the mind. No matter where the raven flies off the ship, no matter what direction it goes, no matter how high or how far it flies, it will always return to its origin. In fact in the case of the mind, it never actually leaves; it never actually goes anywhere, no matter where it looks. And this is what is meant when our text says: “When you discover that the mind is not outside you, nor inside you, then that discovery causes the mind to turn in on itself.” Because the mind is everywhere, then the mind has nowhere to go but itself."

    Meaning, no matter where I go, I cannot escape Mind. Everything is an imputation. The realization came when I was jogging outside and realized that I can never get away from mind since all phenomena are an interpretation and not a thing in itself. The buildings are mind, the road is mind, the cars are mind and etc.. And for the first time, I wasn't trying to comprehend the existence or non-existence of the external world since that idea is also an imputation, never separate from mind. And finally, it doesn't feel like I am subsuming everything into a single undifferentiated mind essence that everyone shares since the feeling of others having separate mindstreams hasn't really been relinquished. And it's also the first time where I didn't need to fabricate anything (trying to consistently cut thinking or assume a non-dual position by deconstructing everything ad nauseaum). Where would this be placed in your mentor's stages? If of course, i'm not being completely delusional.

  2. Soh Says:

    Hi Kobe,

    That all objective/concretized phenomena are imputation is correct, but this is not the realisation of Mind's unfabricated Presence and luminosity, nor is it the realization of 'All is Mind', nor is it similar to what we call the realization of anatta.

    Here's an excerpt from Transcript of Lankavatara Sutra with Thusness 2007

    "Now, the entire thing about Lankavatara Sutra can be summarised into something like Reality is only Mind. That is, when we talk about Reality is only Mind, those who study Buddhism will know that there is the Cittamatra and then there is the Vijnaptimatra. We have to be very very careful about this thing. It is not going to be very scientific because you will sound stupid, you see. How can the external objects, the external reality, the objective reality that is so clearly outside, out there, be said to be the Mind? The manifestation of the Mind? How can you say that? Aren’t you talking something that is not scientific? How is it possible? When you hear the sound, it is very obvious it is out there. When you touch the table, it is very clear that it is out there. The objective world exists with or without your intervention. Now, this casts many doubts of how do we account for these experiences, for experience the Lankavatara Sutra is stating all these. And I am only interested in this. And we have to differentiate this experience with another experience by what we call the Realists, by saying that everything is Perception. By saying No, it is actually your thoughts that is important, your perception, they are just perception of what you are thinking. Lankavatara Sutra is Not talking about this. Don’t misunderstand. These are the concepts of philosophers. These are not the real experiences of one that has entered Non-Duality.

    So it comes to the first chapter, of what the Lankavatara Sutra said. The chapter is about discriminations. Ok, in Lankavatara Sutra, they talk about the Five Dharmas. Mainly the names, the appearances, the discriminations, right knowledge, and then reality. I think this is very very important. What is appearance? Appearance is only phenomena that arises when the five senses come into contact. This is what is appearance. But it is before the formation of perception. This means whenever you sense something, before the formation of perception, that means before you identify it with object, that is what I call appearance. Then it comes to identification with an object, and that is perception, and this is the layer of what I call the symbolic world. And these are names. How I see Lankavatara Sutra. Then you can discriminate, that is discrimination, and that is duality. And then comes the right knowledge of what is it? And how do we experience reality.

    First of all we have to understand that what is meant by All is Mind is different from what is meant by All is Perception. Wei-Xin-Lun (Mind-Only Doctrine) is not the same as Wei-Shi-Lun (Consciousness-Only Doctrine). When we say that you are young till now. Let’s say you are an old person. Everything that you experience, and everything that you touch, feel, or experience from an experiential point of view is the Mind. This means every single thoughts, every single things, including when you scoop the sand, when you touch the sand, and when you feel the texture of the sand, is the Mind. This is the kind of experience that Lankavatara Sutra is talking about. So do not confuse that hey, it is a thought in your mind. No it is not talking about this. Many people misunderstand this. It is not talking about this. So first, we must be very clear that it is this experience that they are talking about. It is the experience that is Non-Duality.

  3. Soh Says:

    A person when first enters into meditation.. the first things that come to mind are thoughts. Streams of thoughts, never-ending thoughts. It never stops, never cease. Now, how are we going to understand what reality is all about, when we are covered by this layer of thoughts? And why going beyond this layer of thoughts is important to feel and to see what Reality is? The question that the objective world is so real outside you is mainly due to an attachment. Why do I say that? Many of us are unable to go beyond what I call the body. That is, your body. Because of this body, we acquire all our knowledge through the Five Senses and we make interpretations. It creates what I call a sense of boundary, that there is some restrictions, and therefore beyond this restriction it is outside, and within this restriction it is me, this is mental. But this is not actually the case when someone experiences what I call a moment of Presence. There are many people who had experienced Presence before. It is a state of clear luminosity and clarity. What is this experience all about? This experience is the first experience when one engages in a spiritual life that something is very very real. Something that is alive, and yet there is no thoughts. Something very very real. Something is extremely alive, you know that you are not a machine, you are not a body. Very real. So we ask, what is this? Now, it is this experience that serves as the condition that led many people to continue searching in the spiritual path. It is this experience that is misunderstood by many people as what they call the Eternal Witness, or they call the I AM."

    Also, here's an excerpt from AtR guide:

    In 2009, John Tan wrote:

    "Hi Teck Cheong,

    What you described is fine and it can be considered vipassana meditation too but you must be clear what is the main objective of practicing that way. Ironically, the real purpose only becomes obvious after the arising insight of anatta. What I gathered so far from your descriptions are not so much about anatta or empty nature of phenomena but are rather drawn towards Awareness practice. So it will be good to start from understanding what Awareness truly is. All the method of practices that you mentioned will lead to a quality of experience that is non-conceptual. You can have non-conceptual experience of sound, taste...etc...but more importantly in my opinion, you should start from having a direct, non-conceptual experience of Awareness (first glimpse of our luminous essence). Once you have a ‘taste’ of what Awareness is, you can then think of ‘expanding’ this bare awareness and gradually understand what does ‘heightening and expanding’ mean from the perspective of Awareness.

    Next, although you hear and see ‘non-dual, anatta and dependent origination’ all over the place in An Eternal Now’s forum (the recent Toni Packer’s books you bought are about non-dual and anatta), there is nothing wrong being ‘dualistic’ for a start. Even after direct non-conceptual experience of Awareness, our view will still continue to be dualistic; so do not have the idea that being dualistic is bad although it prevents thorough experience of liberation.

    The comment given by Dharma Dan is very insightful but of late, I realized that it is important to have a first glimpse of our luminous essence directly before proceeding into such understanding. Sometimes understanding something too early will deny oneself from actual realization as it becomes conceptual. Once the conceptual understanding is formed, even qualified masters will find it difficult to lead the practitioner to the actual ‘realization’ as a practitioner mistakes conceptual understanding for realization.


    Here's a Koan that can lead to realization of Mind:

  4. Soh Says:

    *"objective/concretized phenomena"

    I mean objectified/concretized phenomena.

    At the end of the path, all subjective self/knower and objectified phenomena are exhausted.

    However this does not mean there is no more appearances:

  5. Kobe Says:

    Hi Soh. Thank you for your reply and sorry for replying late. I must have miswritten when I stated that "everything is an imputation" because it conveyed a representational tone that is often found in contemporary philosophy. What I tried to state is that the experience made me feel like all is cognition at all times. Currently, the mind doesn't feel like it's inside of my skull, nor is it outside of me in a dualistic manner. The mind is essentially pervading everywhere (trees, my computer screen, my thoughts) yet it technically isn't anywhere at the same time (which I can't really explain why) because I cannot locate it. The mind isn't in my legs, my arms, or my head. There isn't a shape to it nor is there any color that can be ascribed to it (though reality sometimes weirdly feels like a sphere). When I am aware of the sensation of my legs, and then I shift my awareness to my sight, it doesn't feel like there is actually any shift. This feeling was triggered a couple of weeks ago after reading Dan Lusthaus' article on Vasubandhu where he dispels the notion that he was a metaphysical idealist. The parts where Lusthaus points out that Vasubandhu concerned himself with cognitive objects (rather than physical objects) as well as the example of dreams where cognitive objects are apprehended by deluded minds gave me a bit of an "AHA" when it came to viewing objects in front of me as non-physical. Then the feeling of openness started from that, as well as Mind being everywhere after jogging. No matter where I went, I feel like I didn't actually change location since it was mind at all times. It felt like there wasn't any origin whatsoever.
    I've been reading your journal and it has been very helpful. Your distinction between realization and experience is important. I've had an experience where I am a screen/source from which everything arises (sensations were all in front of me like a digital screen). I also had a similar experience of a Spirit that lightens everything (similar to Ken Wilber's writings) yet all of them were experiences rather than realizations, so they never stuck.

  6. Kobe Says:

    Also, when I was referring to experiences vs realizations, one of the experiences I felt a few years back that was extremely vivid was everything being IN the world. Meaning, all the sensations were within experience. The notion that I am viewing the world through my lenses was within the world. The notion that I feel any pain was within the world. The breath, the table where I eat my dinner, the birds chirping the sky, my legs were all within the world. It's difficult to describe but it felt like there wasn't a subject but a world where everything happens. There is no going in and out. There is only in at all times. The funny thing is that I could only experience that all worldly feeling when I was highly energized. My eyes would be sticking out of my sockets and I would be looking at everything like a curious child but with a lot of energy. So whenever my energy would go down, that feeling of "in world" would slowly disappear and I would try to forcefully look for it again. Hence, it being only an experience rather than a realization. I still get it from time to time but it doesn't stay for long. I understand that the experience probably doesn't fall under any of the stages that you and Thusness experienced, but I was wondering if you can give me an advice on what you think that experience was, based on your extensive trial and error in this field. Thank you.

  7. Soh Says:

    The 'in the world' experience sounds like an experience of no mind or PCE.

    In order for that to stabilize, you will need anatta realization.

    " The mind isn't in my legs, my arms, or my head. There isn't a shape to it nor is there any color that can be ascribed to it (though reality sometimes weirdly feels like a sphere)."

    You also need to realize that there is no mind/awareness besides those.

    Wrote to someone days ago:

    For me its bahiya sutta thats most crucial, the second point here

    "2) contemplating Bahiya Sutta -- in seeing only the seen, on hearing only the heard, (no seer or hearer besides) and same for all other senses. Until it is suddenly realized that the whole structure of Seer-Seeing-Seen doesn't apply and there is no seeing besides colors -- no seer, no hearing besides sound -- no hearer, no awareness besides manifestation. This is not just realising the lack of borders or duality but realizing the Absence of an inherently existing Self/Agent/Awareness behind manifestation. This is the realization of anatta.

    Also contemplate the two stanzas of anatta:

    This will then lead to the realization below:

    Khamtrul Rinpoche on the realization of anatta in the Mahamudra text (recommended reading! with lots of pointers for contemplation too):

    "At that point, is the observer—awareness—other than the
    observed—stillness and movement—or is it actually that stillness and
    movement itself? By investigating with the gaze of your own awareness,
    you come to understand that that which is investigating itself is also
    no other than stillness and movement. Once this happens you will
    experience lucid emptiness as the naturally luminous self-knowing
    awareness. Ultimately, whether we say nature and radiance, undesirable
    and antidote, observer and observed, mindfulness and thoughts, stillness
    and movement, etc., you should know that the terms of each pair are no
    different from one another; by receiving the blessing of the guru,
    properly ascertain that they are inseparable. Ultimately, to arrive at
    the expanse free of observer and observed is the realization realization
    of the true meaning and the culmination of all analyses. This is called
    “the view transcending concepts,” which is free of conceptualization,
    or “the vajra mind view.”

    "Fruition vipashyana is the correct realization of the final conviction of the nonduality of observer and observed."

    Khamtrul Rinpoche III. The Royal Seal of Mahamudra: Volume One: A
    Guidebook for the Realization of Coemergence: 1 (p. 242). Shambhala.”

    As an analogy its like introspecting what is lightning and flash until you realise that they are totally synonymous, there is no lightning behind the flashing, or being an agent of flashing, or being anything besides the flash. Only language makes it appear two, its a false structure

    This but applied to awareness and experience or the seer seeing seen or experiencer experiencing experience

    So now when you say lightning flashes, hearing hears, you are no longer confused. But its a quantum leap of perception and not just an intellectual thing

    Sorry it took so long for me to reply. Overwhelmed by the number of messages I get lately in Reddit and Facebook and so on and may have missed out some messages.

    You are welcome to join and participate in our Awakening to Reality group: