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    Meditation and Self-Enquiry
    I wrote this to my mother today in Chinese about the purpose of practicing and to encourage her to meditate. English translation below.
    English translation:
    Contemplating Zen [Koan] is about inquiring what exactly is our original face, what is our Self-Nature, it is not about achieving a meditative state.
    It is rather to discover, to realize, what exactly is our Self-Nature/Awareness. One must reach a state of utter doubtlessness/certainty to be considered '[Self-]Realization'.
    After the utter cessation of all thoughts, one must turn one's light around to find out, What am I? What is it that is Aware? If there is a thought which answers 'it is this or that' then that's wrong, because the real answer lies not in words and letters. Therefore cast aside those thoughts and continue inquiring, turning the light around. This is the most direct method to apprehend one's Mind.
    You should meditate everyday. Master Yuan Yin asks his student to meditate two hours a day.
    If you are unable to quiet your mind to a state of no-thought, it will be difficult to realise. You should think carefully what is the best method for you to still your mind? Is it meditation? Or is it chanting the Buddha's name and reciting mantras? Whatever methods which calms the mind will do, but you have to practice everyday, not only practice intermittently or occasionally.
    However, reaching a state of no-thought is not awakening. Upon reaching a state of no-thought, continue turning the light around to find out Who is that which is the Clear Knowingness? What is it? Then you will realise your Self-Nature. Otherwise your meditation is merely a state of stillness, not yet realising Self-Nature.
    Realizing Self-Nature is only Apprehending one's Mind, it is not yet realizing Nature [the nature of mind and phenomena] (the principle of the twofold emptiness of persons and phenomena as realized by a first bhumi Bodhisattva), therefore one must continue. Hence, "Apprehending Mind and Realising Nature" consists of two parts: first apprehend one's Mind (True Mind), later realize [Empty] Nature.
    Therefore practice hard to Apprehend Mind and Realize Nature.
    The Sixth Ch'an Patriarch said: It is useless to learn the dharma without recognising original Mind.


    Soh Wei Yu
    The above instructions is suitable for someone seeking to have the initial breakthrough, what I call the I AM realization.
    On the other hand, also today, someone else told me after realizing the I AM he was still struggling.
    He said,
    "Yes, my perception is the "true self" is an unchanging ground of being in separable from all, both nothing and everything, all forms yet formless, however even this is saying too much. It can be pointed to but not put into words and concepts
    at this point for me, there still seems to be a back and forth between an imagined self and awareness. a thought will arise, awareness arises destroying the though, i rest in awareness again - repeat.
    i am unable to rest in "knowing i am not the thought" permanently. the mind forgets...until it remembers and when it does all content falls away
    so there is this back and forth between identifying with the awareness and identifying with the mind going on at the moment
    ive read the links you provided they are highly detailed thank you
    that may be beyond me at the moment i have a solid theoretical understanding and have been looking at my mind for years now, however the habit of mind identification is strong
    i have [realised Self]
    but this is forgotten in times of emotional distress - it seems like the default so to reidentify with the mind
    there is no doubt of the absolute here
    at all - nothing"

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    My advise to him was different from my advise to my mother. I told him, in my trademarked style of vomiting everything out by copying and pasting (thank goodness for technology),
    "Its important for you now to penetrate into anatta thoroughly
    The two stanzas of anatta and bahiya sutta would be key
    Right now your practice is still efforting, trying to abide as awareness distinct from thoughts
    But as john tan said,
    “Hi AEN,
    I do not usually reply people about spiritual stuff but I sense the confusion in Mikael's mail to you.
    It is advisable to correctly point out to him that there is no short cut to direct path.
    In the most direct path, Awareness is already and always at rest. In the most direct path, whatever manifests is Awareness; there is no "in Awareness" and there is no such thing as going deeper in Awareness or resting in Awareness. Anything "going deeper" or "resting" is nothing direct. Nothing more than the illusionary appearances of 'hierarchy' caused by the inherent and dualistic tendency of understanding things.
    It is more 'gradual' than 'direct'. Therefore have the right view first before we talk too much about the direct path so that we do not fall into such views. Next clearly understand the cause that blinds us then have direct authentication of our pristine nature so that we will not be misled.
    By the way, non-discrimination does not deny us from clear discernment. An enlightenment person is not one that cannot differentiate 'left' from 'right'. :)” - John Tan, 2009
    You are still splitting awareness and thoughts as two and then trying to destroy it
    But as the Mahamudra teacher Gharwang Rinpoche said,
    “Understanding these qualities of the mind—its essence, nature, and characteristics—is fundamental to the features of mahāmudrā practice. For example, in mahāmudrā practice, you may encounter the instruction to not abandon thoughts. This might sound very strange to meditators from other traditions, but if you really understand the nature of the mind, then you will understand the profundity of this instruction. Thoughts are not harmful things in and of themselves. The final goal of mahāmudrā practice is not the cessation of all thoughts. This is not something that we strive for. It is said in the mahāmudrā tradition the essence of thought is the dharmakāya, the truth body of a buddha. So, in a certain sense, practicing with the aim to abandon thought would be like aiming to abandon the dharmakāya. In fact, many mahāmudrā masters say that when thoughts arise, they feel so happy and joyful because, for them, more thoughts means more opportunity to experience the dharmakāya.” - Mahamudra: A Practical Guide
    You are unable to recognise that all thoughts and sense perceptions buddha nature, dharmakaya, the union of luminosity and emptiness. And because of this there is effort, struggle and suffering instead of self-liberation
    You should read these instructions on recognising thoughts and perceptions as buddha mind
    I shared this conversation with someone days ago:
    Session Start: Monday, September 22, 2008
    (12:31 PM) AEN: hi i replied u just now
    (12:31 PM) AEN: i mean forum
    (12:54 PM) Thusness: don't talk about effortless and spontaneity
    (12:54 PM) Thusness: if we look at Isis question, why is it so?
    (12:54 PM) Thusness: why is there fear and phobia?
    (12:55 PM) Thusness: What is mind?
    (12:56 PM) AEN: bcos of past experiences right
    (12:56 PM) AEN: like something happened before
    (12:56 PM) AEN: and so when he/she experience something (like dog)
    (12:57 PM) AEN: then he/she will react through conditioned thinking
    (12:57 PM) AEN: so give rise to fear
    (12:57 PM) Thusness: u r using logical reasoning
    (12:57 PM) AEN: its like habitual reaction
    (12:58 PM) AEN: or karmic propensity?
    (12:58 PM) Thusness: all experiences that resulted has just one impact, they becomes imprints
    (12:58 PM) AEN: oic
    (12:58 PM) Thusness: so what is mind?
    (12:58 PM) AEN: imprints and mental activities?
    (12:58 PM) Thusness: u must feel it
    (12:59 PM) Thusness: it is not an entity...
    (12:59 PM) Thusness: it is a tendency
    (12:59 PM) Thusness: that is not as an entity...u still have that sensation as if it is a Witness, an entity because u cannot feel this truth yet.
    (1:00 PM) Thusness: can u see that mind As an arising tendency
    (1:01 PM) AEN: the other day when meditating i had a sense suddenly that my entire mind is just tendencies arising, and there is like no thinker
    (1:01 PM) Thusness: yes
    On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection
    On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection
    On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    (1:02 PM) Thusness: u must first feel this truth with ur entire being
    (1:02 PM) Thusness: like what Jeff Foster said, 'YOU' r just an arising thought
    (1:02 PM) AEN: oic
    (1:02 PM) Thusness: don't worry too much how it arises and how it subsides
    (1:03 PM) Thusness: for now, u must see 'what is'
    (1:03 PM) Thusness: a thought arises, then subsides
    (1:03 PM) Thusness: then sound, then subsides
    (1:03 PM) Thusness: then another thought arises
    (1:04 PM) Thusness: what is thought?
    (1:04 PM) AEN: just thought lor
    (1:04 PM) AEN: awareness?
    (1:04 PM) Thusness: no good
    (1:04 PM) AEN: its like a kind of phenomena just like sound, sight, etc
    (1:05 PM) AEN: but a different kind
    (1:05 PM) Thusness: very good
    (1:05 PM) Thusness: very good. 🙂
    (1:05 PM) Thusness: what sort of phenomena?
    (1:05 PM) AEN: dunnu how to describe it leh
    (1:05 PM) AEN: mental phenomena?
    (1:05 PM) Thusness: haha...
    (1:05 PM) Thusness: yes what is it like?
    (1:06 PM) AEN: images recalled, mental reasoning, arising in the mind?
    (1:07 PM) Thusness: yes
    (1:07 PM) AEN: words, etc
    (1:07 PM) Thusness: but what that is more important, it is a 'knowing' or 'luminous' phenomenon
    (1:07 PM) AEN: icic..
    (1:08 PM) Thusness: an arising thought, then another arising thought
    (1:08 PM) AEN: oic..
    (1:08 PM) Thusness: each thought is 'luminous'
    (1:08 PM) Thusness: first u must know this
    (1:08 PM) Thusness: but if u see it from all previous experiences, u 'see' differently.
    (1:09 PM) Thusness: what is seen is 'An Eternal Witness' sort of experience.
    (1:09 PM) Thusness: is it not true?
    (1:10 PM) AEN: yea
    (1:10 PM) AEN: and theres a subtle tendency to push away all thoughts rather than simple see everything as it is
    (1:10 PM) AEN: or rather
    (1:10 PM) AEN: attempt to be the background awareness
    (1:10 PM) Thusness: yes the tendency to push, to relate to a 'center' a source
    (1:10 PM) Thusness: to be a container, a background
    (1:11 PM) Thusness: u must feel the differences
    (1:11 PM) AEN: icic..
    (1:12 PM) Thusness: it is just a tendency to relate back to a source and refuses to 'see' what is.
    (1:13 PM) Thusness: every arising of a thought carries with it deeply rooted imprints
    (1:13 PM) Thusness: that 'blinds'
    (1:13 PM) AEN: oic..
    (1:14 PM) AEN: and the eternal witness is the thought of what is and what isnt awareness right, then becomes a tendency
    (1:14 PM) AEN: to sink back to a center
    (1:14 PM) Thusness: yes

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    (1:14 PM) Thusness: but first u must understand 'thought'
    (1:14 PM) AEN: icic..
    (1:15 PM) Thusness: a thought is luminous
    (1:15 PM) Thusness: a luminous arising mental phenomena
    (1:15 PM) AEN: oic..
    (1:15 PM) Thusness: isn't it?
    (1:16 PM) AEN: yes
    (1:16 PM) Thusness: besides that what else? Isn't it always so?
    (1:16 PM) Thusness: 'You r just an arising thought'
    (1:17 PM) Thusness: a luminous thought at this moment 'looking' back, relating
    (1:17 PM) Thusness: pondering
    (1:17 PM) Thusness: in thinking, there is only thoughts
    (1:17 PM) AEN: oic..
    (1:17 PM) Thusness: now meditate on the stanza
    (1:18 PM) Thusness: in thinking there is only thought
    (1:18 PM) Thusness: in hearing, there is only sound
    (1:18 PM) Thusness: just this two lines is enough
    (1:19 PM) AEN: icic..
    (1:21 PM) AEN: so whenever thoughts, tendency arise, we should just experience the thought as it is
    (1:21 PM) AEN: as luminous
    (1:21 PM) Thusness: no
    (1:22 PM) Thusness: u must first understand clearly what is meant by no-self
    (1:23 PM) Thusness: but know what is thought first.
    (1:23 PM) Thusness: then understand anatta
    (1:23 PM) AEN: oic..
    (1:31 PM) Thusness: What is the different between in 'thinking, no thinker' and in thinking, only thoughts?
    (1:31 PM) AEN: the luminosity of the thought is not thoroughly experienced even though there is insight into no split?
    (1:31 PM) AEN: i dunno
    (1:32 PM) Thusness: until u understand, then tell me.
    (1:32 PM) Thusness: 😛
    (1:32 PM) AEN: lol ok
    (1:35 PM) AEN: in thinking, only thought, means each thought is discrete and complete?
    (1:35 PM) AEN: no linking
    (1:37 PM) AEN: before that there is still chaining of one thought with another?
    (1:39 PM) Thusness: okie..so so only...anyway u have not understood the real essence of being unsupported, discrete and complete yet.
    (1:40 PM) AEN: icic..
    (1:40 PM) Thusness: just meditate on the first 2 lines : in thinking, just thoughts and in hearing, just sound
    (1:40 PM) AEN: ok

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    If you can meditate on above lines or stanzas you can breakthrough
    Also this conversation is relevant:
    John Tan: the experience, there are two. One of them is… I separate experience from insight. So, why? Because you can have an experience, you can feel spacious, you can feel free, you can feel oceanic. That's an experience. There is no insight, means you can’t clearly see uh, there isn’t, from the beginning there is no self. Seeing through that, that is the insight. Experience means, you experience something, correct? So anatta means that, to me, that time when I realized… I started from presence, means I experienced presence directly. So presence there's a taste, means it is very clear, transparent, vivid, without concept, and all that kind of experience. That experience itself is actually non dual. But post that experience, you just become dualistic.
    William Lam: It's non conceptual.
    John Tan: It’s non conceptual. Yup. Okay. Presence is not conceptual experience, it has to be direct. And you just feel pure sense of existence. Means people ask you, before birth, who are you? You just authenticate the I, that is yourself, directly. So when you first authenticate that I, you are damn happy, of course. When young, that time, wah… I authenticate this I… so you thought that you’re enlightened, but then the journey continues. So this is the first time you taste something that is different. It is… It is before thoughts, there is no thoughts. Your mind is completely still. You feel still, you feel presence, and you know yourself. Before birth it is Me, after birth, it is also Me, 10,000 years it’s still this Me, 10,000 year before, it’s still this Me. So you authenticate that, your mind is just that and authenticate your own true being, so you don't doubt that. In later phase…
    Kenneth Bok: Presence is this I AM?
    John Tan: Presence is the same as I AM. Presence is the same as… of course, other people may disagree, but actually they're referring to the same thing. The same authentication, the same what... even in Zen is still the same.
    But in later phase, I conceive that as just the thought realm. Means, in the six, I always call the six entries and six exits, so there is the sound and there’s all these… During that time, you always say I’m not sound, I’m not the appearance, I AM the Self that is behind all these appearances, alright? So, sounds, sensations, all these come and go, your thoughts come and go, those are not me, correct? This is the ultimate Me. The Self is the ultimate Me. Correct?
    William Lam: So, is that nondual? The I AM stage. It’s non-conceptual, was it nondual?
    John Tan: It’s nonconceptual. Yes, it is nondual. Why is it nondual? At that moment, there is no duality at all, at that moment when you experience the Self, you cannot have duality, because you are authenticated directly as IT, as this pure sense of Being. So, it’s completely I, there’s nothing else, just I. There’s nothing else, just the Self. I think, many of you have experienced this, the I AM. So, you probably will go and visit all the Hinduism, sing song with them, meditate with them, sleep with them, correct? Those are the young days. I meditate with them, hours after hours, meditate, sit with them, eat with them, sing song with them, drum with them. Because this is what they preach, and you find these group of people, all talking about the same language.
    So this experience is not a normal experience, correct? I mean, within the probably 15 years of my life or 17 years of my life, my first... when I was 17, when you first experienced that, wah, what is that? So, it is something different, it is non conceptual, it is non dual, and all these. But it is very difficult to get back the experience. Very, very difficult, unless you're in when you're in meditation, because you reject the relative, the appearances. So, it is, although they may say no, no, it is always with me, because it's Self, correct? But you don't actually get back the authentication, just pure sense of existence, just me, because you reject the rest of that appearances, but you do not know during that time. Only after anatta, then you realize that this, when you when you hear sound without the background, that experience is exactly the same, the taste is exactly the same as the presence. The I AM Presence. So, only after anatta, when the background is gone, then you realize eh, this has the exact same taste as the I AM experience. When you are not hearing, you are just in the vivid appearances, the obvious appearances now, correct. That experience is also the I AM experience. When you are even now feeling your sensation without the sense of self directly. That experience is exactly the same as I AM taste. It is nondual. Then you realize, I call, actually, everything is Mind. Correct? Everything. So, so before that, there is an ultimate Self, a background, and you reject all those transient appearances. After that, that background is gone, you know? And then you are just all these appearances.
    ATR Meeting 28 October 2020
    ATR Meeting 28 October 2020
    ATR Meeting 28 October 2020

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    William Lam: You are the appearance? You are the sound? You are the…
    John Tan: Yes. So, so, that is an experience. That is an experience. So after that, you realize something. What did you realise? You realise all along it is the what, that is obscuring you. So… in a person, for a person that is in I AM experience, the pure presence experience, they will always have a dream. They will say that I hope I can 24 by 7 always in that state, correct? So when I was young, 17. But then after 10 years you are still thinking. Then after 20 years, you say how come I need to always meditate? You always find time to meditate, maybe I don't study also meditate, you give me a cave last time I will just meditate inside.
    So, the the thing that you always dream that you can one day be pure consciousness, just as pure consciousness, live as pure consciousness, but you never get it. And even if you meditate, occasionally probably you can have that oceanic experience. Only when you after anatta, when that self behind is gone, you are not 24 by 7, maybe most of your day, waking state, not so much of 24 by 7, you dream that time still very karmic depending on what you engage, doing business, all these. (John mimics dreaming) How come ah, the business…
    So, so, in normal waking state, you are effortless. Probably that is the, during I AM phase, what you think you are going to achieve, you achieve after the insight of anatta. So you become clear, you are probably in the right path. But there are further insights you have to go through. When you try to penetrate the… one of them is, I feel that I become very physical. I am just narrating, going through my experience. Maybe that time… because you experience the relative, the appearances directly. So everything becomes very physical. So that is how you come to understand the meaning, how concepts actually affect you. Then what exactly is physical? How does the idea of physical come about, correct? That time I still do not know about emptiness, and all these kind of things, to me it is not so important.
    So, I start going into what exactly is physical, what exactly is being physical? Sensation. But why is sensation known as physical, and what is being physical? How did I get the idea of being physical? So, I began to enquire into this thing. That, eh, actually on top of that, there is still further things to deconstruct, that is the meaning… that, just like self, I’m attached to the meaning of self, and you create a construct, it becomes a reification. Same thing, physicality also. So, you deconstruct the concepts surrounding physicality. Correct? So, when you deconstruct that, then I began to realize that all along, we try to understand, even after the experience of let’s say, anatta and all these… when we analyze, and when we think and try to understand something, we are using existing scientific concepts, logic, common day to day logic and all these to understand something. And it is always excluding consciousness. Even if you experience, you can lead a spiritual path you know, but when you think and analyze something, somehow you always exclude consciousness from the equation of understanding something. Your concept is always very materialistic. We always exclude consciousness from the whole equation.
    So they key to effortless stability comes from anatta realisation primarily.. then extended into twofold emptiness
    (10:06 PM) Thusness: Actually if u understood what Satellite and Phroggy meant, u will realise that John Myrdhin, isn't there yet.
    (10:07 PM) Thusness: If there is just one Happening where subject and object are merely assumed, how can there be manifestation of the mind.
    (10:07 PM) Thusness: There is just manifestation or just experience or just mind. (Also see: Flowers Fall: A Commentary on Zen Master Dogen's Genjokoan)
    (10:08 PM) Thusness: No more confusion with 'forms' and 'formlessness'
    (10:09 PM) Thusness: It was only when a practitioner is still assuming that there is a subject and object that such distinction exist.
    (10:10 PM) Thusness: otherwise it is just one expression, one body, one reality.
    (10:10 PM) Thusness: one happening...nothing else...
    (10:11 PM) Thusness: yet after this experience due to the 'tendency to divide', there will definitely be a period of desync. If a practitioner cannot pass the test, his experience will not be stabilized and liberation will not be experienced.
    (11:00 PM) Thusness: By the way it is because we are unable to see with complete clarity that appearance is awareness that 'practice' is necessary.
    (11:02 PM) Thusness: Otherwise 'practice' is just every moment of experience

    • Soh Wei Yu
      He's one of the many people among the roughly 100 people I've sent link to in Reddit over the past few days (I've sent the 7 stages link http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/.../thusnesss-six... to many people on reddit from all kinds of groups just by searching terms like 'Awareness/Ground of Being/Presence/etc', many whom are at the I AM or One Mind stage, it's really not hard to paste a link for others takes just a sec, it's the replying to messages that is time consuming and I may not have time for everyone - work comes first), seems like I am a knock on your door awakening evangelist who is thankfully not banned yet for spamming. (Most people found it useful and helpful, and a few of them looks like they are going to break through to anatta within a year after the pointers I sent them, one of them is already having vivid glimpses) If everyone awakened can have a "r0 factor" as high as me then awakening will definitely go viral/pandemic/exponential for sure. In other words please don't hide in a cave after awakening. That's fun too, but try to help others a little at least.

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